What You Need to Know:|
• A great selection for middle school readers looking for age-appropriate fun.
• Three best friends, all daughters of the rich and famous, cope with school, family, friendship, and boys.
• If you’re not already fascinated by New York City, fashion and celebrity lifestyles, you will be by the end of this book.
• The girls are interested in boys and talk about flirting and “hooking up” but the only action is an innocent first kiss.
• There are parties where alcohol is served but the "daughters" don’t join in the drinking.
• They refer to a group of male dancers as being “on the other team” but don’t elaborate on it any further.
• Author Joanna Philbin
is the daughter of daytime television star, Regis Philbin.
• This book is the first in a series of four. The second is The Daughters Break the Rules.
I was pleasantly surprised by Joanna Philbin’s The Daughters, which features best friends, Lizzie, Hudson and Carina who also happen to be offspring of three famous New York City families. These 14-year-olds are anything but average in their pedigrees, but the problems they face are all too common. As the paparazzi stalk them, they deal with overbearing parents, demanding teachers, "queen bees" and hot boys. They are all trying to find their place in their world, separate from their successful, hardworking parents. In the process, their stories manage to walk that fine line between innocence and inappropriate, without ever going too far in either direction. The girls are sophisticated without being improper, edgy without being scandalous and spontaneous without being reckless. They make mistakes and get into trouble, but they are generally positive role models with whom readers will form a quick and easy connection.
The first book in the series focuses on Lizzie, whose mother is a famous supermodel. A good student, Lizzie likes to read and write and is happier spending time away from the camera. Her best friends, Carina, Daughter of a media mogul, and Hudson, Daughter of a pop star, are the "Brita Filters for her life" and are always there to support her. Despite encouragement from them and attention from Todd, an old friend who recently moved back from London, Lizzie's self-confidence remains incredibly low. She's not traditionally beautiful, and she feels uncomfortable about her looks, especially when she’s constantly being photographed next to her glamorous mom.
LIzzie reaches her boiling point during Fashion Week when she criticizes her mom on camera, breaking the Daughters’ Rule # 5, “If you need to discuss parental drama, only do so with another Daughter.” Life changes for Lizzie from that point onward. Her mistake triggers a sequence of events that enable her to explore who she is and what is important to her. She veers off course from her goals and interests but is able to put things right before the end. Lizzie learns to love and accept herself and to feel beautiful because of who she is and not how she looks. She realizes that if something doesn’t make her feel good about herself then she shouldn’t do it, and that “All that mattered was what she thought of herself.” After months of miscommunication and incorrect assumptions, she even learns the happy truth about how Todd feels about her. Through it all, Lizzie’s non-judgmental friends are always there for her. The cliff-hanger ending will have your reader excited to buy book two which focuses on Daughter, Carina.
2010, 304 pages
Friendship, Family Life, Independence, Romance, Self-Awareness/Discovery
• Why are the girls’ friendships so successful? How do they treat each other?
• How are Lizzie’s and Ava’s groups different? Which would you prefer to join?
• Why would Todd and Lizzie make a good couple? What do they have in common?
• How would you describe the girls’ relationships with their parents? Are there any similarities to your family?
• How did Lizzie get so off track, and who helps her to find herself again?
• What would you have done if you had been in Lizzie’s position?
• Who was your favorite character? Why?
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