This charming debut brings Alice Roosevelt to life when 13-year-old “first daughter” Audrey finds Alice’s century-old diary and turns to it for advice.
Audrey finds the White House to be more like a prison than a privilege, especially since her mom, the president, and her dad, a cancer researcher, find little time for her. Security concerns ruin her first party, and she has difficulty making friends at school. Poking around in a White House closet, Audrey finds a long-hidden diary that belonged to Alice Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt’s spirited oldest daughter, and discovers that Alice shared many of her problems. Alice was older and much more rebellious, keeping a garter snake in her bag and smoking on the White House roof; she famously said she wanted to “eat up the world.” Audrey adopts Alice as her role model, making a bracelet for herself with the initials WWAD: What Would Alice Do? Audrey’s efforts to imitate Alice, however, only land her in more hot water. Behrens invents a fictional Alice, as she reveals in her author’s note, and writes the diary entries in credible period prose that’s still accessible to modern readers. Audrey knows that she’s just a normal girl for all that she lives in the White House, making Audrey and the story nicely accessible.
An appealing journey and a fascinating life. (bibliography) (Fiction. 9-12)