Monday, May 18, 2015
Feiwel and Friends, Expected Release Date: May 5, 2015
*ARC provided by the publisher - thank you! This in no way impacted my opinions on this book.*
Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison is pretty normal as far as twelve year olds are concerned. Except for her super long name and the fact that she lives with her aunt and uncle's family because her mom died and her dad sends letters but has never met her because he's always working around the world. Sure they don't let her do much of the things her cousins do, but she's happy with her friends, doing math, and practicing drawing so she can someday be an wildlife illustrator. But everything changes one day when the school bully threatens to pound her and the truth comes out: Olivia's dad is the Prince of Genovia, making her Mia's half sister and a princess herself. There's nothing normal about her life now!
I was lucky enough to have grown up with the Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot, and as soon as I found out that this book and another Princess Diaries novel, Royal Wedding, would be coming out this summer, I decided to reread the series. While I wouldn't consider the books that old, I was surprised by the discovery that my adolescence is now far enough away that it's practically historical fiction. This new series will allows for a whole new generation of readers to enter the world of Genovia and the challenges of growing up a modern-day princess. Readers don't have to know Mia's story to love Olivia's, but for those who are familiar with the previous series are in for a treat. It was so fun to see Mia, Grandmere, and Prince Philip from a new point of view.
While the previous novels were young adult, Olivia's story is firmly in the land of middle grade, but don't let her age deter you from reading. She's smart. She's clever. She has a flare for the dramatic (like her sister) but is also incredibly grounded. More than anything, she's a girl who wants to do good and be loved, and her adventure is just getting started. This story is told in her journal entries as well as via text messages, an update from the "old time" practice of writing notes to friends. Another wonderful bonus is that this book has also been illustrated by Cabot herself, letting us see more of Olivia's perspective a bit more literally.
All in all, if you're a fan of cute contemporary stories or know someone who is, pick up this book. In her usual feel-good fashion, Cabot has created another heroine for readers to root for and by her side, growing pains feel a little more bearable.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
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