Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Daughters by Joanna Philbin

The Daughters by Joanna Philbin


The only daughter of supermodel Katia Summers, witty and thoughtful Lizzie Summers likes to stick to the sidelines.

The sole heir to Metronome Media and daughter of billionaire Karl Jurgensen, outspoken Carina Jurgensen would rather climb mountains than social ladders.

Daughter of chart-topping pop icon Holla Jones, stylish and sensitive Hudson Jones is on the brink of her own music breakthrough.

By the time freshman year begins, unconventional-looking Lizzie Summers has come to expect fawning photographers and adoring fans to surround her gorgeous supermodel mother. But when Lizzie is approached by a fashion photographer that believes she's "the new face of beauty," Lizzie surprises herself and her family by becoming the newest Summers woman to capture the media's spotlight. (courtesy of Amazon)


I love stories about upper-crust societies. I love their clothes, their houses, their private schools ... you name it. But so many of the rich-girl YA books out there glorify sex, drugs, and the "mean girl" mentality. The Daughters by Joanna Philbin is a refreshing departure from these books. It's similar in tone to Jen Calonita's "Secrets of My Hollywood Life" series, another favorite of mine. There are great descriptions of New York, modeling, and fashion, but best of all - zero cattiness. 

I knew I'd love this book from the first two pages, which list the 10 commandments of the Daughters. The girls put a priority on friendship, protecting family, and living the most normal life possible despite growing up in extraordinary circumstances. Not a hint of arrogance. 

Lizzie, the narrator, is the daughter of a supermodel and award winning journalist. She inherited a talent for writing from her father but did not inherit her mother's classic beauty. Hence, she's always thought of herself as an ugly duckling and hates being in the spotlight next to her mother. 

Lizzie's best friends are Carina, the daughter of a billionaire, and Hudson, the daughter of a pop-rock super-star. The girls are starting their freshman year of high school. They're chafing under the pressure of being their parents' daughters. Carina's father only seems to care about training his daughter to be a future CEO instead of honoring her love of the outdoors and sports. Hudson is as talented a singer as her mother, but her mother isn't willing to let Hudson develop the music career she wants; her mother sees a pop-star, not a jazz/soul singer. 

Both of Lizzie's parents love her and are as proud as can be. Her mother pressures Lizzie to appear next to her at fashion events; she likes having Lizzie there. One night Lizzie loses it and makes a major public relations gaffe as only 14 year old can. This results in a huge fight with her parents and oddly enough, an offer to model. Ugly modeling, that is. To everyone's great surprise, Lizzie's "unique" looks are hailed as the next big thing. Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of the ugly duckling. 

I loved the friendship between The Daughters. Nothing comes between them - not family, not school, not boys, not careers. I also enjoyed Lizzie's growth through the book. Lizzie really comes into her own - learning to love who she is on the outside and stay true to who she is on the inside. Carina and Hudson don't grow as much in this book, but from the plot, I see great things for them in future books. Joanna also does a wonderful job of making smart kids seem cool. Lizzie and her hot crush Todd are fabulous writers and are obsessed with the Great Gatsby. The literary references were fabulous. 

Admittedly, this book won't change your life and won't be hailed as great literary YA. Don't let that keep you away. Joanna is clearly a very talented writer (just like Lizzie). I thought the book was well-written, well-edited, and fast-moving. Reading this book made my day happier and that, to me, is a good book. 

The Daughters by Joanna Philbin is a great, light read. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a taste of rich-girl lifestyle without the rich-girl personalities.

Rating: 4 /5 


  1. From your review, I think this book would be an interesting read. I will be looking out for it and I'm sure it would make my day happier just like you.

  2. Got to your post from YA Addict! I keep seeing this book in stores and libraries- but haven't picked it up yet. But I think I just might go and pick it up now. If a book can make you happy, bring a smile to your face- awesome. (Apparently, this book was written by the daughter of Regis Philbin!)

  3. Argh! Having probs leaving comments!
    Found this post via YA Addict. I think any book that can bring a smile to your face and make you happy is awesome. I keep seeing this title, but now I think I just might actually pick it up!

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