If you’ve been visiting my blog for a while, you’ve probably heard me mention my love for Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series. When I found out that she was publishing a continuation, adult novel in the series, I knew it was time for me to revisit the series- and I do mean the whole series. I own all of the novels, all but one of the novellas (before e-books, when they used to be published in tiny little paperbacks) and all of the companion how-to guides. I even recently started re-buying the novels in the newer paperback covers because my covers are all mismatched since they changed so much over the years. Couple this with the fact that 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of The Princess Diaries publication and I am in full on fangirl mode.
A Bit About My YA Reading Experience as Influenced by Meg Cabot
The Princess Diaries holds a special place for me because it was literally the first YA book that I ever read. Ever. It all started when I was in fourth grade and we had to choose a book for an independent reading project. I had seen the movie and loved it, so I went to my local Borders and picked up the pink paperback. Writing style wise, I loved it (I was always one of those kids who was a more accelerated reading level than what was being written for my age group- I was so tired of middle grade novels at that point). Content wise…well I was definitely a bit shocked, haha! Mia deals so candidly and realistically with topics that freshmen in high school have to confront, from sex to boys to school to politics to self-actualization. I flew through the novel and reread it multiple times, holding it near and dear to my heart, feeling giddy and slightly sneaky reading about teenagers at the age of 10. (A funny aside- when I showed up to school with the book, two of the “popular” girls immediately went out and got it for their projects too. After reading a few chapters they went to the teacher and demanded to be allowed to choose another book because they felt the content was too mature for them). The Princess Diaries series was definitely my “gateway read” into YA, and I haven’t looked back since.
Revisiting and Re-reading
I started my re-reading project this past summer, but it kind of fizzled out with all of the other books on my TBR. Once I decided to participate in the 2015 Re-reading Challenge, I knew that re-reading the rest of the series was a must. If anyone wants to join in, let me know!
The Princess Diaries (1)- There’s nothing quite like reading this book, especially in comparison to the movie. Set in New York instead of San Francisco, and with a Grandmeré who is the complete opposite of Julie Andrews, every time I reread this book I get more and more out of it in terms of the pop culture references. I love Mia’s raw and emotionally open portrayal in her diary entries and the cast of unique and often hilarious characters (such as Lars the bodyguard, Lily the neurotic best friend, and even Rommel, Grandmeré’s psychotic dog).
Princess in the Spotlight (2)- The sophomore installment in the series really keeps the charm of the first book, focusing on Mia having to start to train as a royal while also juggling notes from a secret admirer (Jo-C-Rox). I love love love Mia’s hilarious lists in the series from ranking Lifetime movies to detailing which celebrities she’d hook up with. There’s also the very important plot line of Mia’s mother being impregnated with Mia’s algebra’s teacher’s baby. There’s also a lot of hilarious yet subtly insightful commentary on different political and social differences between people who live in different parts of the US, as Mia’s mother’s family comes to visit New York from Indiana.
Princess in Love (3)- This is my favorite book out of the entire series, as it covers the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons and all of the holiday drama that goes with it. Mia’s stuck in a relationship with absolutely cringe-worthy Kenny, pining after Michael who is apparently dating Judith the human fruit fly, and trying to balance finals (don’t we all know that stress too well?) I also like how Mia continues to grow as an individual and away from Lily’s influence (like with the walk-out Lily plans that happens to be during her stepdad’s class). We also get more of the fantastic characters who are missed in the movie (like Tina!) The ending is so cute and my teenage self thought the way Mia comes together with Michael in this book was the cutest thing ever.
Through the spring I’ll be rereading all of the books and novellas and bundling my reviews a few books at a time, leading up to the release of the new book in June! If you are interested in joining me, let me know! I can’t wait for Mia’s story to continue, and for those of us who grew up as 2000’s teens it’s satisfying to see Mia embarking on her adult life, just as we are!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Goodreads Challenge
- Reread Challenge