Release Date: March 25, 2008
Target Audience: Young Adult
Why I picked it up: It was a long time coming. I love the movie!
Summary: Mia sucks at algebra, is not exactly part of the in-crowd, and can’t figure out why her boobs are non-existent. As if life isn’t difficult enough, she finds out her father is a prince and she is, indeed, a princess.
There are very few examples of movies inspired from books that are better than the actual books. (The Notebook is the only one I can think of.) So I’m not sure why a) I waited so long to pick up this book because I’ve see the movie only a billion times b) I was expecting not to like it much.
Despite the differences, I found myself really loving this first book and I’m pretty much ready to gobble up the rest ASAP. First, Mia is such a relatable character even if she just found out she was a princess. She deals with body image issues, a know-it-all best friend, her mom dating her algebra teacher, and the arduous wait for her first kiss. She’s semi-dramatic but super intuitive even if she sucks at telling people how she feels. (Did I mention she is in love with the most popular guy in school?)
I do love that this book upholds the diary style and doesn’t break out of it to create scenes. Instead we learn about Mia’s life (and “secret” life) through her words and eyes entirely. If you’ve seen the movie as much as I have, this first book is basically the uber slow-mo version of what happened in most of the beginning of the flick. One of the huge differences is that her father is still alive and her grandma is absolutely nothing like Julie Andrews. (Maybe we’ll get to that point somewhere down the line.)
The key to the first book in a series is to feel invested enough to pick up the next one. Of course, being me, I am a little too invested in Mia’s love life but I also want to know if her best friend Lily’s always going to be so boisterous, if her parents are really over one another, and what about this mysteriously sweet Michael Moscovitz? While there are plenty of subplots going on, it’s never overwhelming and only adds to how much we learn about Mia’s universe.
Really, my only issue is how I am going to find the time to read a series of ten books. Ah! Wish me luck!