Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Fame Game: The Daughters by Joanna Philbin

Welcome to today's guest blogger, Julia Teal, well qualified by her love of reading, literary ability, and especially by the fact that she is a bona fide teen-ager, who will from time to time be reviewing new young adult books here.

Riding high on the wave of popular teen books set in New York's Upper East Side, Joanna Philbin’s The Daughters (Poppy, 2010) focuses on the lives of Lizzie Summers, Carina Jurgensen, and Hudson Jones, all of whom have high-profile celebrities for parents. Lizzie, the main protagonist, seems to have it the worst, though, with red hair “the texture of a Brillo pad” and a long crooked nose which force her to be forever in supermodel mother Katia’s shadow.

But when being the daughter of a “walking proof of God” becomes too much and the tape of her mouthing off gets leaked onto YouTube, Lizzie’s life spins even farther out of her control. Paparazzi begin harassing her on the street, publicist Natasha won’t leave her alone, and worst of all, she’s broken Rule #6 of being a daughter:

Never talk to the press about your parents. Especially when they’re hanging out in front of your house and yelling at you to say stuff.

Well, Rule #6 is deep-sixed now, but in the midst of all this drama, Lizzie manages to get “discovered” by photographer Andrea Sullivan, and is reunited with former best friend Todd Piedmont, whom she just might be crushing on. Readers watch with bated breath as Lizzie struggles to manage her new public persona as a model and still keep her private life intact--a life which includes failed English projects, forged signatures, and walking out of a major photo shoot with fashion mogul Martin Melroy.

Written along the lines of other series such as Cecily von Ziegesar’s best-selling Gossip Girl and Jen Calonita’s Secrets of My Hollywood Life, The Daughters also has the unique perspective of being written by Joanna Philbin, who did her background research growing up as the daughter of high-profile talk-show host Regis Philbin. Her real-time experience with the subject shows through, and in addition to the characters’ realistic goals and down-to-earth personalities, keeps the over-glamorized setting of the Manhattan elite fresh and believable.

Check in for Philbin's next book featuring Lizzie’s mountain-climbing, soccer-loving fellow-celeb daughter Carina Jurgensen and her struggles with her mega-star father in The Daughters Break the Rules, forthcoming in November of this year.

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