An all-American winner
If you enjoyed Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries, you will like All-American Girl. The two main characters have a lot in common: hair that won't cooperate, accidental celebrity, and a penchant for making lists.
The plots also have a lot of similarities. Both involve a quirky, misunderstood heroine catapulted to instant fame and struggling with their love life (as most teenage girls are). Whereas Mia from The Princess Diaries was a vegetarian activist type and an only child, Sam is a ska-loving artistic hamburger eater who happens to be a middle child. Other than those differences, their voices are very similar; they could leap easily into one another's stories.
However, I like Sam a little more because she grows more in the course of the story. In the beginning, she is blind to many things. With the help of her art teacher and her family, she finds her eyes opened in many ways.
In the beginning of the book, Sam is envious of her sister Lucy and is secretly in love with Lucy's artistic rebel boyfriend, Jack. She hovers on the fringe of her school's social circle with her best friend Catherine.
After catching onto Sam's extracurricular drawing habit, her parents enroll her into an after-school art course. While skipping her art course (after being unable to handle constructive criticism), Sam manages to save the President's life by jumping on the back of a would-be assassin. More worried about being found out about skipping, Sam doesn't really realize the magnitude of what she has done until the barrage of reporters begins.
Sam winds up falling in love with the President's son, David, who is coincidentally enrolled in her art class. Her old feelings for Jack keep getting in her way, until she learns to see how they are holding her back.
All-American Girl is a nice light read for any girl in the mood for a romantic comedy. It's fun and fast-paced with good comedic timing.