When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens
Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (February 4, 2014)
Series: Stand alone
Source: NetGalley for tour
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
About the Book:
First Daughter Audrey
Rhodes is convinced that living in the White House is like being
permanently grounded. Except with better security. What good is having
your own bowling alley if you don’t have anyone to play with?
the Secret Service cancels the party she’d spent forever planning,
Audrey is ready to give up and spend the next four years totally
friendless–until she discovers Alice Roosevelt’s hidden diary. Alice
was a White House wild child, and her diary tells all about her
outrageous turn-of-the-century exploits, like shocking State visitors
with her pet snake and racking up speeding tickets in her runabout.
Audrey starts asking herself: What Would Alice Do? The former First
Daughter’s outrageous antics give Audrey a ton of ideas for having fun .
. . and get her into more trouble than she can handle!
About the Author:
Rebecca Behrens grew up in Wisconsin, studied in Chicago, and now lives with her husband in New York City, where she works as a production editor for children’s books. Rebecca loves writing and reading about girls full of moxie and places full of history. When she’s not writing, you can find her running in the park, reading on the beach, or eating a doughnut. Visit her online at www.rebeccabehrens.com.
Guest Post by Rebecca Behrens:
If Alice Roosevelt were a First Daughter today, one thing
can be certain: She’d still be finding plenty of ways to have fun, and she’d
probably stir up plenty of controversy in the process. After all, her antics
did famously cause her father, President Theodore Roosevelt, to tell a
reporter, “I can be president of the United States, or I can control Alice. I
cannot possibly do both.”Security measures in the twenty-first century would make it
much more difficult for Alice to do some of her favorite things, like taking
spontaneous shopping trips, careening down DC’s hills on her bike, or speeding
around in her runabout. Today, I think we’d hear many rumors about the First
Daughter sneaking out of the house. For Alice to still have opportunities to
roam freely, she’d have to master the art of evading her Secret Service agents
and then stay incognito and be careful about getting caught by the paparazzi.Alice was very excited to hold her debut at the White House.
While fewer girls today have debut balls, many do go to prom. I think a modern
Alice would follow in Susan Ford’s footsteps by hosting her prom at the White
House (as Susan did back in 1975).“Princess Alice” was one of the first national celebrities,
and she loved the attention lavished on her by the press. If Alice did host an
event at the White House, she’d be sure to get lots of media coverage for
herself, perhaps by inviting reporters from entertainment channels and popular
blogs. I could see Alice doing cover-story interviews for celebrity gossip
magazines and laughing about rumors reported in the tabloids. Her romantic life
surely would be scrutinized by the media, too. Although the real Alice did face
that; she once got into trouble with her stepmother when a newspaper reported
an untrue rumor that she had received a marriage proposal.While Alice would enjoy some of the increased media
attention on celebrities and political families today, I think she’d find it
challenging, too. Alice was insecure about her appearance, and I imagine that
paparazzi shots of her without makeup or in grungy clothing would be upsetting.
Always quick to protect herself with a quip, she’d probably post a few
self-deprecating selfies to make herself feel better.But Alice would love social media, particularly Twitter. She
was always known for her sharp wit, and her most famous sayings would be
constantly retweeted:“I’ve always believed in the
adage that the secret of eternal youth is arrested development.”“Fill what’s empty, empty
what’s full, and scratch where it itches.”“They expect me to wear a halo
and I only wear a hat.”“If you can’t say something
good about someone, sit right here by me.”I can also imagine Alice making some hilarious Vine videos
of her best antics: pulling out her pet snake, Emily Spinach, to startle a
party guest; dancing the hootchy-kootchy; driving a fast lap in her red
runabout; smashing a Champagne bottle against the boat at a yacht christening.
No matter what, Alice would still find ways to “eat up the world.”
My Thoughts on the Book:
When Audrey Met Alice is a fun, lighthearted story of the First Daughter
finding Alice Roosevelt’s diary. Audrey can identify with Alice,
so she uses her as an inspiration for “improving” her lonely life inside
the confines of the White House. The trouble comes when Audrey’s
improvements aren’t well received by the media, her family, and the rest
of the White House staff.
My favorite parts of the book are Alice’s diary entries. They are really
fun to read. Alice was quite the character, and I could see how easy
it would be for a young girl to idolize her. While Audrey wasn’t my
favorite character, I did appreciate the change she went through. She
was reckless and self-centered, like most teens, but she had a sweet
side as well. When she finally realizes how much trouble she had caused
her parents, she does her best to fix the situation.
Some parts of the book felt preachy, which was a big negative for me.
There is also a pro-gay marriage theme throughout the story, so keep that in mind when considering the book. Overall, it was fun and I enjoyed reading it. While it wasn’t
perfect, it was definitely entertaining.