Shaking Up the House

HarperCollins/Harper. Jan. 2021. 256p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062970725.
Gr 3-6–The latest arrival in the emerging genre of “presidential family” fiction. With young and new adult titles such as Casey McQuiston’s Red, White, and Royal Blue and Shaun David Hutchison’s The State of Us flying off the shelves, it is no surprise to see 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the backdrop for this middle grade title. Ingrid and Winnie Lopez have spent the last eight years at the White House as the country’s first daughters. It is now time for them to turn the keys over to Skylar and Zora. However, preparations for the incoming family are delayed, and the four girls will have to stay under the same roof for several weeks. True to the White House’s tradition of playing pranks on the incoming family, Ingrid and Winnie engage in an ongoing series of harmless gags with their successors. Events take an unfortunate turn when the pet ferret goes missing, and the girls’ practical jokes interfere with official presidential business. Méndez has created a funny and diverse cast of characters subverting the representation usually seen in the White House. Ingrid and Winnie are Latina, and Skylar and Zora are African American. They openly talk about their experiences with racism and the pressure they feel to be on their best behavior. While their pranks began as innocent fun, they culminate in a touching friendship and show of solidarity.
VERDICT An entertaining read, and a clever reimagining of First Daughter tropes, showing that anyone can be in the White House and have fun doing so.

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