Books & More from the Teen Scene

Book reviews and other reflections from one of Oregon's young adult librarians

Great quotes from Alice Roosevelt September 25, 2014

Filed under: Quotes — hilariouslibrarian @ 10:28 pm
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Alice Roosevelt photo

Image from the Library of Congress

By all accounts, Alice Roosevelt was not an easy daughter to raise or person to know, but she has a sharp mind and a sharper tongue and left a legacy of some delightfully snarky quotes that make a person both smile and cringe a little.

If you can’t any something good about someone, sit right here by me.

I have a simple philosophy: Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. Scratch where it itches.

I’ve always believed the adage that the secret of eternal youth is arrested development.

My father always wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening.

He [Calvin Coolidge] looks at though he’s been weaned on a pickle.

My specialty is detached malevolence.

You can’t make a souffle rise twice.

Source: The Almanac of Theodore Roosevelt –


“When Audrey Met Alice” by Rebecca Behrens

When Audrey Met Alice cover

Images courtesy of

The Facts

304 pages; published February 2014

The Basics

The Audrey is question is the only child of the first female president of the United States. At 13, she is chafing under the many restrictions of being the First Daughter, looking on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave as more of a prison than an honor. She finds the 1902 diary of former First Daughter Alice Roosevelt and enters into a wonderful relationship with this spirited historic figure, taking inspiration from Alice’s antics during her days as a White House resident.


You would think being the daughter of a president and living in the White House would be glamorous and amazing. That’s not what Audrey Rhodes – daughter of American’s first female president – would tell you. With her mother busy running the country, Audrey is stuck alone this big old house that is definitely not home with a bunch of uptight staffers. She can’t even have friends over because they don’t have security clearance. And now she’s being left out of her class trip to New York because it’s too tricky for the Secret Service. When Audrey stumbles across a diary hidden under the floorboards by former First Daughter Alice Roosevelt, eldest daughter of Teddy Roosevelt, she discovers that someone understands what a pain it is to be trapped by presidential protocol and rigid expectations. Alice’s wild behavior while living in the White House was the stuff of many scandals in the early 1900s. Her stories get Audrey thinking that maybe she has been a little too easy to tame and she strikes out to put the fun back in being a First Daughter.

Random Thoughts

  • Both characters are delightful and the story is sweet. This is perfect middle grade girl fare.
  • I have a special spot in my heart for Alice Roosevelt. You just have to admire her spunk and creativity. When Teddy Roosevelt forbade her from smoking in the White House, for example, Alice took her cigarettes up to the roof. One of the best “real” quotes in the book comes from the day TR famously said, “I can either run the country or I can control Alice, but I cannot possibly do both.”

I’ll Recommend This To …

  • Many middle schoolers and teachers as I booktalk during class visits
  • Teens who like light-hearted stories
  • Readers interested in fun approaches to exploring history
  • Fans of the Roosevelts
  • All girls named Alice

“Ripper” by Stefan Petrucha October 12, 2012

Ripper coverThe Facts

427 pages; published March 2010

The Basics

After 14 years in an orphanage, Carver Young has been adopted and offered the chance to apprentice to Pinkerton Agency detective Albert Hawking. Tasked with finding his own father, Carver is drawn into a far larger mystery that may lead him into the path of a serial killer.


Jack the Ripper stalked and murdered at least 5 women in the East End of London between August and November of 1888. He was never caught. Yet, no later murders were proved to be linked to him. Where did he go? What did he do next?

Fourteen-year-old orphan Carver Young knows. Adopted by eccentric, brilliant detective Albert Hawking of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency, Carver – who has always wanted to be a detective – become embroiled in the frantic search for a manic brutally murdering the wives of New York socialites. As Carver and the mysterious members of a shadowy agency called the New Pinkertons thread the clues together, the ties between these cases and 5 famous murders in the East End of London become unmistakable. As Carver digs even deeper, he discovers his own ties may go even deeper.

Random Thoughts

The author has some good fun using Theodore Roosevelt and his spirited daughter, Alice, as characters in the story. He even works in one of Alice’s most amusing and famous quotes – “If you don’t have anything nice to say about anyone, come sit here by me!”