The Daughters by Joanna Philbin

This is Week 11 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.

Imagine that your mom is a world-famous supermodel or actress, like Angelina Jolie - constantly surrounded (and hounded) by the paparazzi. What would your life be like? How would your parent’s fame shape your own childhood, teenage years, and adult hood? This is the premise of The Daughters by Joanna Philbin, a new young adult novel that explores growing up in the shadow of fame, and it how alters (and in many respects doesn’t change) the trials and tribulations of the teenage years.
The Daughters follows the life of Lizzie Summers, daughter of a famous supermodel, and Lizzie’s two best friends, Carina and Hudon, daughters of a billionaire media mogul and pop star, respectively. In many respects they are just like many 14 year-olds, trying to navigate through high school academics, crushes on boys, and changing relationships with their parents. But in other ways, their parent’s fame is almost like another character to explore in the book, drawing constantly unwanted attention. 

Lizzie makes a few bad decisions along the way, breaking #6 of The Daughter’s “rules”: “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.” There are ten rules in all, but it’s the last that truly is the most important: “You are not your parents, and your parents aren’t you. No matter how well-known – or mortifying – they are.”  

The book’s author, Joanna Philbin, is the daughter of Regis Philbin, the famous TV host, so many of the situations she dramatizes are based on her own experiences. However, you don’t have to be the child of a famous person to enjoy this story. I found it an entertaining and fun read, but I wish it perhaps had a few less brand names sprinkled throughout the pages. This should appeal to fans of Meg Cabot’s books, and it reminded me at times of the vampire series, Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz. The next installment in this series, The Daughters Break the Rules, will be out in November.