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Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White

I have to preface this review by saying I've been an Ellen Emerson White addict for years. Ever since I found a used copy of Life Without Friends and took it home with me because I liked the girl on the cover so much. I've never read a "new" EEW book in my life. They've all been out of print or used when I've come across them. So sitting down with a brand spanking new copy of a brand spanking new book of hers...well, let's just say it was a religious experience and leave it at that. Long May She Reign is a sequel to the President's Daughter trilogy written in the 80s. The series follows Meg Powers, daughter of the first female president of the United States, and her experience moving to the White House and adjusting to life in the public eye. In the last book, Long Live the Queen, Meg is abducted by terrorists, forced to endure days of starvation, beatings, and emotional torture, only to be dumped in a mine shaft, shackled to the wall, and left to die. In an act of breathtaking determination, she breaks the bones in her hand in order to escape and is later reunited with her family.

Long May She Reign picks up where Long Live the Queen left off. Meg is in bad shape, to put it unbelievably mildly. She's a wreck, physically and emotionally, and her family isn't far behind. At best, they're able to skirt the issue of what happened to her. And none of them can answer the omnipresent question: what happens next? So Meg closes her eyes and makes the decision to go ahead and go to college hoping her absence will make it possible for her family to move on. At Williams, Meg finds it even harder than she imagined to function as a college freshman, surrounded by paranoid secret service agents and a slew of students who regard her with, at best, timid curiosity and, at worst, outright hostility. Fortunately Meg meets a couple of people who are determined to insinuate themselves into her life whether she wants them or not: her JA Susan (the main character in Friends for Life) and an Ultimate Frisbee-playing, love 'em and leave 'em California boy named Jack. Having been through her own personal hell when her best friend was murdered during their junior year of high school, Susan is familiar with the seemingly insurmountable challenge Meg faces in attempting to reclaim her life. Slowly, these two survivors strike up a tenuous friendship. Meanwhile, Meg negotiates an equally fragile relationship with Jack. Both relationships are unusually compelling. I love that Meg and Jack are equals--two extremely flawed, extremely interesting, extremely complicated people attracted to each other precisely because they are flawed and interesting and complicated. I love that he calls her on things. That it makes her mad when he scores higher than she does on a psych test. That they get angry at each other and talk it out and laugh together and move on. As I've mentioned before, I get tired of the Tireless Good Guy and his counterpart the Reformed Bad Boy. It was so refreshing to find that Jack was neither of these. And, as ever, White's sarcastic, thought-provoking dialogue kept me absolutely glued to the page. There's something so satisfying when a writer treats her reader as though she is smart. The whole time I was reading it I felt in the company of old friends, that I had been here before, and that I was comfortable here. Long May She Reign was hands down the book I was most excited about this year and it exceeded all my expectations. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Links:
The YA YA YAs Review
Publisher's Weekly Q&A with Ellen Emerson White
Tandem Insights Review
A Chair, A Fireplace, & a Tea Cozy Interview
Suburban Kvetch Review
Lady Librarian Review

Comments

  1. Thanks for the copy! I'm so excited to read it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am your bibliocrack provider. I take my work seriously.

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