09 MarPrincess Diaries 10/52

When I was in high school I didn’t read what typical high school students did. Oh no, no teen books for me. I tended to devour books like Memoirs of a Geisha, any of Barbara Kinsolver’s novels, or Oprah’s book club picks.

Now that I’m older the tables have turned. I seem to be making up for lost time and reading books aimed at teenagers. I’m not really certain why, they’re just what happens to be appealing to me at the moment.

Since I’m a fan of Meg Cabot it seemed appropriate then to go back and read the Princess Diaries series. Originally published back in 2000, I would have been the prime demographic for these books. I of course saw the Disney movie when it came out, but never did I think about reading the book.

Taking place in New York City, The Princess Diaries centers around high school freshman Mia Thermopolis. Not being able to open up about her feelings, her mother suggests she start a journal so she has some form of release. The books chronicle Mia’s thoughts and feelings about her day to day frustrations – including failing algebra and then finding out her mom is dating her algebra teacher.

And then she discovers she’s actually the sole heir to the Genovian throne. So begins her journey learning how to be a princess under the watchful eye of her Grandmere, the dowager princess of Genovia.

I have to say I enjoyed this first book. It goes into a fair amount more detail than the movie can provide. It also rounds out several of the characters. I loved the role of Grandmere in the film, played by Julie Andrews, but in the book she’s got more dimension to her (and is nothing like her film counterpart!).

I also love the fact that Mia has typical teenage sensibilities, as I’ve often found that teenagers in books sometimes tend to be more grown up than they should be. Mia focuses on the things that are important in her perspective (getting a date to the dance) rather than what her family thinks she needs to focus on (learning to be a princess).

I thought this was an all around fun read, and ultimately leaves you wanting to read the rest of Mia’s adventures becoming the Princess of Genovia.

I give this book three stars out of five!

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