You are invited to a Genovian Royal Wedding in this second book pulled FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS, a Princess Diaries spin-off series, written and illustrated by New York Times-bestselling author Meg Cabot.
Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison still finds it hard to believe that she’s a real live PRINCESS OF GENOVIA. Not only does she get to live in an actual palace with her newly discovered family and two fabulous poodles (who all love her and think that she’s anything but ordinary!) but she also gets her very own PONY!
Of course, things aren’t going exactly like she imagined. Her half-sister Mia is very busy learning how to take over the country while trying to plan a wedding and her father is actually getting remarried himself-to Mia’s mother!-and spends most of his time “renovating” the summer palace, although Grandmere says he is just hiding from the wedding preparations. Olivia hardly gets to see either of them.
Fortunately, Grandmere has her own plans for Mia’s wedding, and needs Olivia’s help to pull them off. Just when Olivia starts to think that things are going to work out after all, the palace is invaded by a host of new cousins and other royals who all seem to be angry at Olivia (although Grandmere says they are just jealous).
As the day of the wedding gets closer and closer, Olivia becomes more and more worried. For such a carefully planned event, it seems like a LOT of things are going wrong… Can Olivia keep this royal wedding from becoming a royal disaster?
I won’t usually read middle grade. I think a lot of it is because I like my characters to be a little bit more mature, and middle grade characters are still kids and to be honest that’s usually not a period in my life I want to reflect upon.
To be fair, I really don’t want to reflect on my teenage years either, but YA book has kissing and other stuff that middle grade does not.
I’ll make an exception though, if the book purports to have a drawing of Michael Moscovitz in it like Royal Wedding Disaster has.
And to be fair, I did enjoy this book even sans Michael drawing. It’s something I would feel very comfortable with buying for a younger reader. It was pretty kid friendly-although, I could tell Meg wanted to include a romance in here since there were allusions to crushes and all that good stuff.
And honestly, that was probably one of the weakert part of the book.
Olivia is only eleven. The crush just came off a little too much to be realistic. Not that I think it wasn’t cute, but I just really couldn’t believe an eleven year having that much of a romance.
The stuff I enjoyed was the more middle grade centric stuff. I liked watching Olivia adjust to her new life in Genovia. I loved her relationship with Grandmere and adjusting to a new school.
The mean girl subplot. Again, meh. I think if anything was weaker than the junior high romance, it was this part. Mean girl plots were a staple in the 2000’s when YA was just getting it’s foothill in the industry and Cabot was one of the big proponents of using it. While she has stopped using it to some extent in some of her newer YA work-side note, it’s been awhile since a new YA Cabot book has come out, I love the updated adult versions of her past YA novels, but more YA Cabot please-it’s rearing it’s ugly head here.
However, again, the book was so cute that it was very easy to overlook. The book’s plot is pretty simplistic and goes more into detail about Mia and Michael’s wedding while dealing with Olivia’s first days at school in Genovia.
I’m going to be honest, the whole “princess” school concept made me roll my eyes and gave me flashbacks to that turd of a movie-Princess Diaries 2– if I was twelve (okay, that’s pushing it) or really to be honest eight or nine I probably would’ve loved it. As a cantankerous adult burned by bad movies, I ignored my misgivings best I can, and read the school part for the dynamics for the characters.
While I am mostly continuing with this series for updates on Mia and Michael (because, come on, that’s why a lot of people who are over a certain age are reading these books) I’ll admit that they’re cute and are the perfect books for a younger audience.
Is it perfect, no. But the original series wasn’t either. This series is perfect for a younger audience.
Overall Rating: A B+