Shaking up the House

by Yamile Saied Mendez Year Published: 2021
Kirkus Reviews (October 15, 2020)
Two sets of sisters battle to be the best pranksters. The López sisters, 12-year-old Winnie and 11-year-old Ingrid, have lived in the White House for the past eight years. As daughters of the first Latinx president, they’ve carried the burden of being perfect role models as well as they could despite Winnie’s impulsivity and Ingrid’s joker side. However, with only seven weeks left in their father’s presidency and the new first family staying as guests at the White House, the López sisters wholly embrace the tradition of pranking the incoming administration. With 12-year-old identical twins Zora and Skylar Williams moving in as the daughters of the first Black woman president, there are plenty of opportunities to perform elaborate jokes. The Williams twins retaliate with gusto, and soon the pranks escalate, causing trouble in the White House, endangering historical artifacts and First Ferret Lafayette, and leaving Secret Service agents scrambling to do their jobs. The girls must learn to restrain themselves before they do irreparable damage to their families’ images and their parents’ legacies. The story is told through chapters alternating among the four girls’ perspectives, giving a glimpse into their struggles to express their personal identities and the added pressures of being children of color in the public sphere. Readers who enjoy mischief will find this an amusing and instructive read in the art of pranking. Delightfully silly and enjoyable. (Fiction. 8-12)