Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Royal Welcome Back: Royal Wedding

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #11)
William Morrow and Company, 2015

*ARC Provided by the publisher at ALA Midwinter 2015 - Thank you! This in no way impacted my opinion of this book.*

For years, Mia poured her heart and soul into the pages of her diary. What started as a place to sort out her feelings about her mom dating her Algebra teacher became the chronicles of a teenage girl discovering she's the heir to the throne of Genovia all while dealing with all the usual hassles of high school. Now Mia's back, 25 years old and coping with her royal family's latest fiasco. Dad's having a mid-life crisis on the verge of an election, the paparazzi is as annoying as ever because even though she and Michael Moscovitz are as in love as ever, he still hasn't proposed, and Mia feels like even after all those princess lessons from Grandmere, she still has no idea what she's doing. When Michael does pop the question, another scandal is about to burst. Will the two love birds finally get their happily ever after, and is Mia finally ready to rule?

I was lucky enough to get this ARC at ALA Midwinter back in January and swore at the time that I was going to read all the books I got there in the order of their publication dates. But with this, I couldn't help myself (and not just because I got to meet Meg for the 2nd time and she signed my original copy of The Princess Diaries from when I was a tween!). I devoured Mia's latest story in a matter of days. Reentering the world of The Princess Diaries was like reconnecting with an old friend, and just as I have grown so much since the last time I saw her, so has Mia. Yes she still has a flare for the dramatic and her imagination is as active as ever, but she's matured and leveled out in a lot of ways. She's gotten the hang of this princess thing. Her tendency to self-sabotage seems to have faded with time. She's still grounded and caring and sure a little crazy, but who isn't?

While this is technically the 11th book in a series, people who have never read its young adult predecessors will have no trouble picking this story up as a standalone read. Cabot redefines her cast, bring back plenty of old favorites along with some new faces, and like Mia, they're all grown up. It's refreshing to see a story that's actually a pretty realistic representation of what life is like for people in their mid-20s. Friendships aren't as face-to-face as they once were, but that doesn't lessen their bonds. Tough choices must be made, but a good support system makes them a little bit easier. And never underestimate the power of a positive outlook and true love with a great geeky guy. Don't believe me? Diary entries, text message conversations, even a few shopping lists letting us into Mia's mind and prove it.

Meg Cabot is a master of the feel-good stories, giving us quirky protagonists in extraordinary situations you can't help but root for. On a blizzard weekend in January, this was just the pick me up I needed, and I can tell I'll have fun rereading this one in the years to come.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

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