Young, idealistic Samantha works for Senator Gary in his capitol hill office as his health care policy advisor. She is smart, capable, and a hard worker. Her personal life is considerably more fragile, less organized, and fraught with neuroses. It is early in a presidential election year and Sammy begins dating a speechwriter for a smarmy Senator who also happens to be a presidential candidate. The romantic trajectory is relatively predictable, but the political climate Kristin Gore has created is exciting and a refreshing change to the chick lit genre.
Sammy is humorous at times, but so neurotic as to render her unrealistic. Her odd quirks - a love for telemarketers, odd daydreaming scenarios, an obsession with disaster-preparedness - were probably inserted to add depth to her character but feel tacked on. Still, the character is sympathetic and admirable in a lot of ways; she's obviously smart, an expert in her field, and holds political views with which I sympathize.
President Pile is a thinly veiled George W. Bush (I was tipped off by her description of his permanent "deer in the headlights" expression). Although the book was published in 2004, the presence of both Pile and female presidential candidate Melanie Spearam feel very current. Unfortunately, Spearam drops out of the race after a public emotional meltdown over a love affair; a bit too stereotypically female for me (but thank goodness, not a danger in the current real-world race!)
Despite its flaws, I was humming "Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow" by the end of the book and I'm very much looking forward to reading the follow-up, Sammy's House.