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I found this book in the children's section of my local library. I picked it up as it is on a BBC 'Top 100 books' list which I am currently making my way through.
ABOUT THE BOOK
This is the first book in 'The Princess Diaries' series. There are ten books in the series in the following order:
1) The Princess Diaries
2) The Princess Diaries Take Two
3) The Princess Diaries Third Time Lucky
4) The Princess Diaries Mia Goes Fourth
5) The Princess Diaries Give Me Five
6) The Princess Diaries Sixsational
7) The Princess Diaries Seventh Heaven
8) The Princess Diaries After Eight
9) The Princess Diaries To The Nines
10) The Princess Diaries Ten of Tens
At least with having the numbers in the titles it should be easy to keep track of which book to read next.
This first book was published in 2001 by Macmillan Children's Books. The R.R.P on this book is £5.99 although it is available on Amazon for £4.49 including delivery.
The book is 230 pages long.
Meg Cabot has published a variety of books for children of all ages. For younger readers there is 'The Alfie Finkle' series, for older readers there are single books and more series' including 'The Heather Wells' series, for those ages in between there are plenty of books and series' to choose from.
The author's website allows fans to discuss the books, view the author's online diary and her latest 'tweets', as well as getting information on upcoming books.
As you may have gathered from the title, the book is set out in the form of a diary. The diary is written by a 14 year old girl named Mia.
Mia wasn't too keen to write a diary and didn't see it as a very "cool" thing to do, but her mother thought it would be a good idea to write down her feelings as she doesn't seem to want to talk to her about them.
Mia's parents split up before she was born, she lives with her mother in Manhattan and starts by expressing her disgust at the thought of her mother choosing to date her algebra teacher instead of one of the other 2 million men in Manhattan.
Mia's dad lives in Genovia, he is recovering from cancer. From the book, here are Mia's thoughts:
'Cancer is a scary thing. Fortunately, the kind of cancer my dad had was pretty curable. They just had to cut off the cancerous part, and then he had to have chemo, and after a year, so far, the cancer hasn't come back.
Unfortunately, the part they had to cut off was...
Ew, I don't even like writing it.
It turns out that when they cut off one of your testicles, and then give you chemo, you have, like, a really strong chance of becoming sterile. Which is what my dad has just found out he is.'
Mia's dad calls and tells her he is coming to visit her to discuss the fact that he can't have any more children. It turns out Mia's parents have been keeping a big secret from her and her dad is actually a Prince. As he can't have any more children this means that Mia is heir to the throne, and overnight becomes Princess Amelia.
Mia is an awkward teenager, she doesn't want to be a princess, just work for Greenpeace and she certainly isn't impressed when her grandmother comes to visit to give her Princess lessons to teach her how to look and act like a princess.
The diary continues to follow Mia's everyday life, trying to hide her news from her friends, falling out with her best friend, her crush on the school hottie, her arguments with her parents and making new friends. All whilst trying not to fail algebra and learning to become a princess.
The book is obviously aimed at teenage girls. I think the fact that it is in diary format with a few notes and lists included makes the book easy to read and would appeal to young readers.
I thought the author did a great job of writing from a teenager's prospective and think most young girls would enjoy it.
I didn't bring many books with me on my holiday, as I find them too heavy and bulky to heave about with me when travelling. Luckily for me, just around the corner from where I'm staying is a decent second hand book shop, and it was there that I picked up a copy of this this morning for just £1.
Yes, it's a kids book, and really not something I would normally buy for myself - while I do stray into teen fiction, it is generally to read books in the horror and fantasy genres . But, I have a secret affection for the films based on this book, and decided to pick this up and read it .
It follows the tale of Mia Thermopolis - an ordinary teenage girl with all the problems any ordinary teenage girl has -being too tall, having big feet, having no boobs, and of course - boys . Not to mention that her mums decided to start going out with her algebra teacher, Mr Gianini
Lucky then that she has best friend Lily Muscovitz to help her out - to talk through her problems, give her own opinion, and to protect Mia from the bullying of popular girl Lana Weinburger. Life ticks along relatively comfortably - until her dad drops a bombshell . Not only has he just been through cancer, resulting in him having a testicle chopped off, but he keeps moaning about the fact that it has left him infertile - something Mia cannot sympathise with until she learns the truth - her father is the Prince of a small country called Genovia, and as his only child, that makes her the heir to the throne .
How does an ordinary teenager go from being a flat chested geek one day to a princess the next - especially when her best friend has strong anti monarchy views . How can she do all the ordinary things teenagers do - sleep overs, dating, shopping- if she has to have an escort all the time . And will she ever get along with her Grandmother, who is intent on forcing Mia into the princess mould whatever it takes.
As a kids book, this is fine . It's pretty easy to read, written in diary form which provides lots of natural breaks. It's descriptive enough for us to get an understanding of the characters, Lily especially we get an in depth picture of. However, I do feel it lacks depth - I find it hard to warm to Mia, as she seems to spend a lot of the book with a 'poor me' attitude - there always seems to be something to moan about, and it gets a little annoying .
My annoyance is probably due to me reading this as an adult and finding Mias annoying whiny attitude a bit grating, even though she is writing as a typical teenager. The storyline itself is quite simple , and not particularly engaging - basically metaphorical rags to riches- so not wholly original either.
I think for a young girl or about 10 or 11, this might make a perfectly enjoyable book - but for me reading it as an adult, I have to say I found it disappointing and much preferred the film!
3 stars - a distinctly average book with an irritating heroine .