Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White. Fiewel & Friends, 2007. 720 pages. Publisher recommends for ages 12 and up. The President’s Daughter series #4. ISBN: 9780312367671.
In this installment of The President’s Daughter series, Meg Powers, the daughter of the President of the United States, starts college at Williams. The injuries to her knee and her hand, obtained when she was kidnapped in “Long Live the Queeen,” are still very problematic for her. Besides that, she has posttraumatic stress to deal with, both when she’s awake and more powerfully when she’s asleep. Eating is also a problem. She says she’s too tired to eat. She is a broken young woman trying to hold on to her independence at Williams, and at the same time wishing she could be at home where people would take care of her.
Meg has a hard time making friends at Williams, although by the end of the book she has a few. She also develops a relationship with a blonde-haired young man who happens to be a republican. I looked for some of her psychological issues to be resolved. It’s a 700 page book, one might expect some closure. I thought perhaps Meg might figure out a way out of her difficulty with eating. Possibly she would find a way to deal with the posttraumatic stress. Maybe she would be able to forgive her mother for refusing to negotiate with the terrorists who held Meg. Unfortunately, none of these issues are resolved, although the relationship with her mother appears to be on the mend by the end of the book.
The Secret Service is responsible for protecting Meg, and they have a large role in the book. They go everywhere Meg goes, which makes her college experience different from every other character who isn’t a president’s child.
Meg is a strong character. She loves politics, and enjoys decompressing by watching C-Span or CNN. It’s wonderful to see how her story is developing. Ellen Emerson White has an extremely readable style, so 700 pages go by quickly. I’ll say again, though, that I wish she had used some of the 700 pages to resolve or even begin to resolve the psychological issues facing Meg.
Long Live the Queen by Ellen Emerson White. Fiewel & Friends, 2008. 320 pages. Publisher recommends for ages 12 and up. The President’s Daughter series #3. ISBN: 9780312374907.
In this third installment of Meg Powers’ life as the daughter of the first female president of the United States, Meg is kidnapped by terrorists just before her high school graduation.
The book is divided into three sections. The first is Meg prior to rescue. White keeps us inside Meg’s head and what’s going on in Meg’s head seems very realistic. The pages fly by. Meg interacts with only one of the terrorists. He tortures her mercilessly but also brings a bottle of good scotch into the room where she’s being held and sits and drinks it with her.
In the second section, Meg is in the hospital. Again, White keeps us inside Meg’s head, and what’s going on in Meg’s head seems very realistic. Again the pages fly by.
In the third section, Meg is home at the White House. We are inside Meg’s head until her best friend arrives. Beth seems to fix Meg’s emotional reaction to what’s happened to her much too easily. By the end of the book, Meg is planning to start college at George Washington University in just a few weeks. It’s hard to believe that Meg could be planning such a thing when only a week or two earlier the drive from the hospital to the White House terrified her.
Politics are woven into this story of tremendous pain and perseverance. Meg would never have been kidnapped were she not the daughter of the president. And once Meg returns, the president has to divide her time between being a mother to Meg and being the president. Meg is angry with her mother for being the president and thus putting Meg in a position to be kidnapped. Meg is also afraid given the failure of her secret service detail to protect her. In fact, she knows that one of them betrayed her.
If I could read fast enough, I would have read this book in one sitting. The label “political thriller” certainly fits.
White House Autumn by Ellen Emerson White. Feiwel & Friends, July 2008. 240 pages. Publisher recommends for ages 12 and up. President’s Daughter series #2. Originally published in 1985. ISBN: 9780312374891.
Meg Powers’ story continues as she becomes more comfortable living in the White House. She finds friends at her high school, including a boyfriend named Josh. In her family’s first fall in the White House, Meg’s mother, the president, is attacked in an assassination attempt.
As Meg’s mother fights for her life, and then fights to conduct presidential business even in the hospital, Meg struggles with fear for her mother, with anger towards her mother for being a public figure, and with her own tendency to push people away, especially at times of crisis.
Like its predecessor, this book is fast-paced. Meg grows a great deal in the course of the book and Ellen Emerson White captures that growth beautifully.
White also makes it possible for the reader to step into Meg’s life and imagine that he or she is the daughter of the President of the United States. It’s quite a fantasy for anyone interested in politics on the presidential level.
The President’s Daughter by Ellen Emerson White. Feiwel and Friends, 2008. 304 pages. Publisher recommends for ages 12 and up. President’s Daughter series, #1. Originally published in 1984. ISBN: 9780312374884
Meg Powers is a high school junior with all the normal high school junior issues. Her mother is beautiful and seems to be good at everything, except spending time with Meg. Meg’s working to establish her independence from her parents. Her younger brother Steven is in Middle school and is hard to live with. Her youngest brother Neal is very cute. She has friends and crushes and tries to keep her grades good (A-) but not too good (A or A+). She goes to a public school in a suburb of Boston. Clothes are a constant issue. Her mother is one of the two U.S. senators from Massachusetts. One day, after beating Meg at a game of tennis, Meg’s mother tells her she’s thinking of running for U.S. President.
Meg has to adjust to her mother being gone even more of the time. And her father is also gone helping his wife campaign. Sometimes Meg and her brothers are even called upon to help with the campaign. Meg’s life becomes more and more public as her mother’s life becomes more public. Meg must get used to being that candidate’s daughter, and then to being the president’s daughter. She grows throughout the book. Much of the growing is in ways that most teenagers are not called on to grow (for instance, she must adapt to the Secret Service watching her whenever she’s in public). However, especially in her relationship with her mother, she grows in the ways most teenagers grow.
The book is fast-paced. There are paragraphs explaining the way a presidential election works in the U.S., but they don’t detract from the pace. The story is told in third person, but in places, especially when interspersed with dialog, the storyteller has Meg’s voice. There’s plenty of dialog, so we hear Meg’s voice firsthand as well. Both Meg and the third person voice swear periodically.
“The President’s Daughter” makes a wonderful primer on the way a presidential election campaign works, as well as how the first several weeks of a presidency work. It’s also an excellent escape for anyone who has any interest in presidential politics.