Olivia Grace Clarisse Harrison has always known she was different. Brought up by her aunt’s family in New Jersey, book-and-music-loving Olivia feels out of place in their life of high fashion and fancy cars. But she never could have imagined how out of place she really was until Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia, pops into her school and announces that Olivia is her long-lost sister. Olivia is a princess. A dream come true, right? But princesses have problems too.
In FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS a new middle grade series, readers will see Genovia, this time through the illustrated diaries of a spunky new heroine, 12 year old Olivia Grace, who happens to be the long lost half-sister of Princess Mia Thermopolis.
The original Princess Diaries series sold over 5 million copies in the US (15 million worldwide), spent 82 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, and inspired two beloved films.
Truth be told, I was sort of worried about this book. I think because I’ve seen a lot of disastrous YA spinoffs when they go into other genres may it be adult or middle grade. Thankfully, this book didn’t fall down that path.
Overall, this is a cute little book. I feel like it might be on the younger side of middle grade though. Honestly, Olivia sounded more like ten than twelve, but that might just be me. Regardless of that, it surprisingly worked really well for me.
For long time fans like me, it was a nice way to get reacquainted with these characters before Royal Wedding and for younger readers it’s a nice entrance into the main series. Though when I was Olivia’s age I think that’s when I began reading Diaries. So…
Let’s avoid how old I am.
The point is, this one has all the charm of the original book series, but without all the othings that made it for older readers. And Grandmere is halfway normal in this book because Olivia hasn’t seen that shes’ a super villain in disguise yet.
I really liked the contrast between Olivia and Mia. They are the same, but not. And Olivia was an interesting enough character. I really do look forward to seeing how she develops later on in this series.
As far as plot goes, this one is pretty bare bones. I don’t even think the book is over two hundred pages if even that. Sure, there’s the whole Olivia custody part-which I had to give the whole stink eye to as a lawyer-but that was overall pretty anticlimactic.
And seriously, what was up with Olivia’s Dursley like relatives. She might as well been sleeping in a cupboard. Two Ferraris, seriously?
To be honest, the abuse that she suffered shouldn’t have been as glossed over as it was. Because while it wasn’t Lifetime movie bad, it was bad enough to issue Olivia a few sessions in Dr. Knutz’s office. I really hope Meg explores this issue in future additions, but I really don’t think it probably will be.
The one thing I’m really worried about is how the whole royal thing will be treated in future books. There were hints in this one-teh whole lady in waiting thing and Phillipe dressed in full prince regalia while he was just at home-that makes me think that it might be heading in a cheesy Princess Diaries 2 fashion. I get that this is geared for younger audience, but I pray to the book gods that it doesn’t go there. The Nostalgia Critic reviewed that movie, I think that tells you right there that that’s not a good idea to try to imitate.
Another thing that I wanted more in this book was Michael. I wanted an illustration of him damn it, since this was Meg doing the art work and it’s probably the closest representation I’m going to get to him-it’s sort of nice seeing how author’s view their characters and most of the drawings were pretty spot on to how I thought the characters looked, though Mia was a lot more glamorous than I thought she’d be. But then I remember book ten and am like yeah…
Overall, this is a sweet addition to The Princess Diaries book. I recommend it to any die hard Princess Diaries fan or if you have a princess obsessed tween give it to them.
Overall Rating: An A-.