The Unofficial Princess Diaries Binge Read: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

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.

Source: GoodReads

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…

Okay.

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-.

 

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The Unofficial Princess Diaries Binge Read: The Final Stretch

So, it’s the final stretch in this binge read.  Next month the middle grade spinoff series will out and then in June Royal Wedding will come out and I won’t talk to you because I’ll be too busy reading and wondering why can’t I write swoon like Meg Cabot because God…Michael Moscovitz (though, I still think Jesse de Silva is the ultimate Cabot man).

I will say, that rereading this series was fun.  I got to revisit books that really helped me get through my teen and early college years.  While there were some aspects of the series that were a little lackluster, overall my appreciation for the Diaries series still remains.

My Favorite Book Of All Time In This Series: A Lot of People Hate It

 

At last, Mia is a junior. An upperclassperson. Free of her responsibilities as student body president. So why is it that everything is going so terribly wrong? What is she doing in Intro to Creative Writing? When she has made it through Algebra and Geometry, why must she be faced with Precalculus? And for the love of all that is Genovian, why has Lilly nominated her for school prez again? All this is nothing compared to the news Michael springs on her, however. On top of all the mathematical strife, her beloved boyfriend is leaving for Japan for a year. Precalc has nothing on preparing for the worst separation ever

Turns out there is one way she might convince Michael to stay. But will she? Or won’t she? No matter what, Mia seems headed for disaster.

Source: GoodReads

Here’s the thing about this one.  A lot of people hate it.  And I get it, but I really think that this book in the long run made the series.

Yes, the breakup was painful.  But it really was inevitable and I think in the long run it strengthened M&M.  The thing is, when I first read this book I was ready for Michael and Mia to break up.

Yes, them breaking up was like a getting pushed into the fountain scene for me. Sad and sick but true.

I love the couple, but Mia was grossly immature at this point.  And thankfully, Meg showed that the immaturity had consequences.  I don’t think that’s something that is often seen in YA.  That being said, I wasn’t exactly a fan of Michael in this one either.  He really should’ve been more open about his sexual history than Mia, rather than to have her make gross assumptions.

I.E. I think he should’ve brought it up in book six.

It makes him human though, so again I think it was good characterization.  But I see lots of people putting the breakup entirely on Mia.  When I really think it was both of them-though mostly Mia.

Reading the series again, the JP plot becomes blatantly obvious.  I don’t even know why I shipped Jia way back then.  Probably because I was sort of done with M&M and maybe I was suppose to ship Jia at that point.

The book was surprisingly fast to read.  I think it’s only a few pages over two hundred pages or so.  Definitely one of the more thinner volumes, but then again I don’t think this is a volume where you really want to get into Mia’s head that much.

She is at her absolute worse here.

Lilly, as annoying as she can be, is actually a very sympathetic character.  I think because Mia is just bat shit insane in this one, that you can’t help but feel sympathy for Lilly.  Though, I’d think she’d get a clue about JP.

Overall, this is a very well written book.  While the break up is heart breaking it needed to happen and I thought the way it was done was well done.

Also, Mia,your precious gift….no one cares.

Overall Rating: An B+ I liked this one while a lot of people hate it.  Whatevs 😛  I’ll admit though, I thought parts of the book could’ve been fleshed out.

She’s Not Clinically Depressed (Okay):

A princess on her own . . .

Mia has been invited to speak at a gala for Domina Rei, an elite society of powerful businesswomen. But what could she possibly have to say? Now that Michael has broken things off, Mia can barely get out of bed, and her parents are making her see a “therapist.” School, where Lilly still refuses to speak to her and Lana suddenly wants to be bff, is a total nightmare. Even J.P.’s efforts to cheer Mia up (he’s being really sweet!) aren’t helping. What’s a royal to do?

Just when things couldn’t get worse, Mia uncovers an old family secret, a long-forgotten diary of a teenage princess of Genovia. It could be just the thing to help Mia write her speech–but it might also change the fate of the Renaldos forever.

Source: GoodReads

This was a really well book except…

Mia’s not clinically depressed.

I’m sorry.

She was only in her pajamas for a week.

Try living with someone who is clinically depressed and then try saying Mia is depressed.

Um, no.

That’s from my own personal experience though.  Maybe if I hadn’t grown up with someone who suffered from depression, I wouldn’t have mind Dr. Knutz evaluation so much.

And Mia’s parents, you really didn’t need to send her to a shrink.  My parents would’ve just dragged me out of bed and threw me in the shower with my Hello Kitty pajamas on.

Oh, and took my door off when I was in the shower.

Or they would’ve just made me go to school in my pajamas.

And if I ate all the leftovers and the Chinese food my sister would’ve probably decked me.

Mia has it easy.

That being said, while I thought a depression diagnosis was a little out there, one thing that I wish was addressed with Mia’s anxiety issues.  But Dr. Knutz’s just kind of ignores that.

He really annoys me.

Then again, most shrinks do, so he was probably in character on that.  Or as much as you can make a cowboy shrink be in character.

I think what I liked about this one that it was really thought provoking.  You had the mental illness factor and then the whole democracy for Genovia.

All I can say is thank God for them because can you really imagine Mia as a leader?

Um, yeah…didn’t think so.

As much as I appreciate the idea of a giant cat rescue palace, it’s not exactly going to help a country’s GDP grow.  Or for that matter, not getting in a war with Monaco or whoever about olive oil prices.

Genovia really dodged a bullet there.

I found the whole cover up with the grandmother and father a little eyebrow raising and wish we would’ve had another book or two to go through this.

But again, there was a lot of good stuff here.

I didn’t even mind the Jia stuff here.  Though, it does make me sort of sad that they seemed sort of cute and enjoyable in this one and then…well, read Forever Princess.

Overall, I gave Princess Mia an A-.  It had it’s issues.  But I like what it’s trying to do.  And it’s probably one of the stronger Princess Diaries book.

Noooooooooooooo It Can’t be Over:

It’s Mia’s senior year, and things seem great. She aced her senior project, got accepted to her dream college(s), and has her birthday gala coming up . . . not to mention prom, graduation, and Genovia’s first-ever elections.

What’s not to love about her life? Well . . .Her senior project? It’s a romance novel she secretly wrote, and no one wants to publish it.Prince Phillipe’s campaign in the Genovian elections isn’t going well, thanks to her totally loathsome cousin Rene, who decided to run against him.Her boyfriend, J.P., is so sweet and seemingly perfect. But is he the one? And her first love, Michael, is back from Japan . . . and back in her life.

With Genovia’s and her own future hanging in the balance, Mia’s got some decisions to make: Which college? Which guy? How can she choose? Especially when what she decides might determine not just the next four years, but . . . forever!

Source: GoodReads

If I was to give my initial rating after reading this one it would be A++++++, however, once I sit on this book I feel a little differently.  There are some definite structural issues with Forever Princess and I really think the series would’ve been better with an additional book or taking one of those sophomore slump books out and making a book that took place in late junior early senior year.

It’s just really hard for me to buy Jia as an established couple when they haven’t even had a whole book together, versus five or six books where Michael and Mia were exchanging saliva.

Tell him you loathe him Mia, tell him. And find Michael. The movies can’t end with this guy.

It’s just really puts the odds in favor of M&M which sort of makes watching the love triangle plot a bit trite.

And yeah, I love M&M but them getting back together is predictable.

Oh, I enjoyed it.  But I remember at the time just sort of eye rolling because predictable.

You’ll still swoon though, predictability aside.  And there were so many nice things about this book that it makes the problems a lot easier to deal with.

I’m still not over Lana Weinberger being Mia’s b.f.f. even though I did like some of her remarks.

It’s Lana Weinberger.

I hold grudges a lot longer than Mia does.

I think it’s one of the reasons I went law school.  Lawyers have to hold grudges for a long, long, time.  Cases last for years.  And you have to find something to bill your clients over…which is probably why Lana and I never quite gel.

Luckily for her, Mia is not a lawyer.

Lilly should think about being a lawyer though, come to think of it.  But even she’s somewhat of a human in this one.  At least there’s some logic behind her a-holeness in the last book.  Though,  I really wish someone would’ve decked her for that site.  Or maybe Mia could’ve written a Lifetime movie about it.   Bullied Princess I could totally see them making a movie of that.  But alas, her misdeeds are mainly swept under the carpet (though apparently Michael dealt with her-good).

As for Michael, he seems to have only gotten only hotter in this book.  Cabot compares him to Christian Bale’s Batman  at one point.  From a nostalgia perspective, this is particularly hilarious considering Anne Hathaway played Mia Thermopolis and then went on to play Selina Kyle who was Bale’s love interest in the last Batman movie.

Ha! M&M meets BatCat. Two of my all time favorite ships.

So in a weird way M&M is BatCat even though the ships are waaay different (though it totally gives someone an excuse to put together a fandom M&M video using Hathaway and Bale clips, just saying).

Despite it’s issues, Forever Princess is a feel good treat.  B+

Next month I’ll be meeting Olivia Grace.  From the excerpt I’ve read it seems she’s basically living in a cupboard with Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon.  Only instead of Hagrid rescuing her, I’m betting Grandmere does.  Okay, that’s a scary thought.

The Unofficial Princess Diaries Binge Review: Where JP Saves the Series

It’s time for another installment of my Princess Diaries binge read.  Mia’s finally not a freshman anymore (yay?) and her relationship with Michael is really developing (yay?).    Let’s look at book 6, 6 1/2, 7, and 7 1/2.

Where the Term Baby Licker is Invented:

Princess for president!

Student body president, that is — nominated by her power-mad best friend, Lilly. This is not how Mia imagined kicking off her sophomore year, but as usual, she has bigger problems to worry about, like Geometry. And now that Mia’s one true love, Michael, is uptown at college, what’s the point of even getting up for school in the morning? But the last straw is what Lana whispers to her on the lunch line about what college boys expect of their girlfriends. . . . Really, it’s almost more than a princess in training can bear!

Source: GoodReads

Blah.

Besides, Princess in Waiting this is probably the most lackluster installment in the series.  However, in retrospect I think Meg did an excellent job portraying a teenage girl.  I hate to say it, when I was Mia’s age I probably acted a lot like her-though slightly less neurotic.  And Teen Me is someone I really don’t want to be again.

That being said, I really wish there was more to this one.  I could care less for either of the plots.  The president plot I could care less for and in hindsight it really doesn’t add much to the series, save for being a plot point in the overall ridiculous plot that is seven.

The sex plot….well, I might’ve cared for it more when I was fifteen.

As a woman in her mid twenties though, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at Mia’s obliviousness and freaking out.

Again, very relevant to someone who is of that age group, but when you’re older you really could care less.

There were some things that were enjoyable about this one that made it tolerable.  The term Baby Licker was one of them.  I also liked the fact that there seemed to be a heavy focus on friendship on this one.

But sometimes, the friendships got immature.  Like a certain scene at a slumber party when the characters discuss whether a new kid at school is a boy or girl.

That just seemed a little rude.

Overall Rating: C+ while boring, there were parts of it that made it a decent read.

 

Where Lilly Ruins a Good Old Fashion Genovian Christmas:

Mia would give all the jewels in Genovia for the perfect present

Every year, Princess Mia spends the holidays in Genovia with Grandmère. This year, she’s looking forward to the most perfect Christmas ever: her boyfriend, Michael, and her best friend, Lilly, are coming to Genovia, too.

But even a princess’s plans can go awry. Lilly has a lot to learn about palace protocol, and with all the state holiday functions Mia must attend, there’s no time to linger under the mistletoe with Michael. Worst of all, Mia hasn’t been able to find him the perfect gift.

Can Mia stop her (bah-hum)bugging long enough to see that the perfect present has nothing to do with international express courier — and everything to do with real love? (Though some shiny silver ribbon never hurts …)

Source: GoodReads

Hmmm, probably my least favorite novella.

And you want to know why.

Lilly.

The phrase you want to tell Lilly throughout the entire book.

If I were Grandmere, I’d throw her in the dungeon.  She basically caused an international incident.  Mia should remember this for future reference (cough, wedding planning, cough).

If you could get pass the Lilly hate in this one, the plot was pretty simple.  It was basically a redux of “The Gift of the Magi”.  Which isn’t exactly my favorite story ever, but whatever. It was Michael and Mia playing the rolls in the story so it made it a little bit more tolerable.

I think this short story is probably one of the better representations of Genovia that the book gives.  It is, admittedly, a little bit over the top.  However, unlike Princess Diaries 2 it still resembles a country enough where you don’t want to call fail.

It probably helps that there are no singing maids in this book.

If you like your novellas being a little over the top, you might like The Princess Present.  It’s pretty solid, despite the fact Lilly gets on my nerves and there’s some points Genovia goes borderline singing maid.

Overall Rating: A B solid.

Where JP Enters:

 

 

 

Princess just want to have fun . . . And Mia does too, despite the fact that the student government over which she presides is suddenly broke. But Grandmere’s got a wacky scheme to raise the money, catapult Mia to theatrical fame, and link her romantically with an eligible teen bachelor who’s not her boyfriend. No wonder Michael seems to think she’s a psycho, or worse: not much fun. Is it possible that Mia, soon-to-be star of the stage, president of the student body, and future ruler of Genovia, doesn’t know how to party? 

Source: GoodReads

I think this book gets a bad rap.

I can understand why it might get a little lackluster reviews though.  At it’s face it might seem silly.  Really, a musical about Genovia.  But I think this is the book where the series finally picks up steam again because JP enters the scene.

Up until this point, JP was simply known as the guy who doesn’t like it when you put corn in his chili.  However, he actually becomes  a real character in this installment.

Having read the entire series, I view JP a lot differently than I did in earlier installments (meaning, I can see through him).  However, I really thought he was a nice and decent guy the first time I read this.

One thing I didn’t expect to feel, this read a round was such sympathy for Michael.

I really never have viewed myself as a Michael fan in comparison to some of Cabot’s other heroes (cough, Jesse de Silva, cough), but he’s grown on me a lot in the reread.  And I have to give him kudos for putting up with Mia in this one.

That sexy dancing incident.

I forgot just how stupid that whole scene was.

And she wasn’t even that drunk when she did it.  I think she only had one beer?

Whatever.  It’s sort of fun reading about a train wreck in the making when you know how it’s going to resolve.  And for it’s credit Party Princess ends on a pretty good note.

Overall Rating: A B the series starts picking up steam again, but this book is really silly.  And really, what’s so bad about selling candles?

Where Lilly Drinks the Fat, and Mia is Super Evil:

Sixteen is the magic number

Mia doesn’t always have the best luck with parties, so even though it’s her sweet sixteenth, she doesn’t want a birthday bash. As usual, Grandmere has other ideas, and thinks a reality TV special is just the thing in order to celebrate royally. The whole scheme smacks of Lilly’s doing — Lilly, whose own TV show is still only limited to local cable viewers.

Will Mia be able to stop Grandmere’s plan? Will her friends ever forgive her if she does stop it, since it involves all of them taking the royal jet to Genovia for an extravaganza the likes of which would turn even Paris Hilton green with envy? Why can’t Mia get what she really wants: an evening alone with Michael?

With a little luck, this sweet sixteen princess might just get her wish — a birthday that’s royally romantic.

Source: GoodReads

This is one is almost pure fluff, at first glance.  But there’s really some subplots that play a huge role in book eight that rear their head here.

What I like about this one, is that despite being a romantic read it does focus a lot of the Lilly and Mia friendship.  And I think that sometimes that relationship is overlooked or used more or less as a zany plot device.

But in this book, you get Lilly and Mia.

I probably won’t say that anytime else in the series, but I really understood the friendship here.

The Michael and Mia relationship, while it has its moments is really more background in this book.  And I’m okay with it, when they are together its them at its best.  Mia’s not a neurotic mess like she usually is, and therefore Michael doesn’t seem like he lacks a brain for not telling Mia to get over herself.  Plus, the ending with all the skating couples was fun and sort of swoon worthy.

I want a birthday party like that.

It’s really a fun novella.  A fun but  important novella, since you really need to read it to get the full impact of book eight.

Overall Rating: B+

Overall: As a sophomore Mia did enter a bit of a sophomore slump.  However, at the same time, towards the end of her sophomore year the series picked up again.  I did enjoy this part of the series though, regardless.  Even though these weren’t my favorite in the series each of them had something to offer.

Coming Up Next Month

  • Princess on the Brink: Probably one of my favorite in the series-yes,  I know that’s a controversial choice.
  • Princess Mia: Where Mia gets depression and grows breasts.
  • Forever Princess: I don’t wanna say goodbye 😦

The Unofficial Princess Diaries Binge Read: Where Mia Gets a Tad Bit OCD

Last month, I remembered why I loved this series.  This month, I remembered some of the problems I had with it.  It didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy readings books 4, 4 1/2, 4 2/3, and 5.  But it did remind me of the issues I had with it.

Never before has the world seen such a princess.

Nor have her own subjects, for that matter. Mia’s royal introduction to Genovia has mixed results: while her fashion sense is widely applauded, her position on the installation of public parking meters is met with resistance.

But the politics of bureaucracy are nothing next to Mia’s real troubles. Between canceled dates with her long—sought—after royal consort, a second semester of the dreaded Algebra, more princess lessons from Grandmère as a result of the Genovian parking—meter thing, and the inability to stop gnawing on her fingernails, isn’t there anything Mia is good at besides inheriting an unwanted royal title?

Source: GoodReads

Groans.

Do I have to?

If I was reviewing books when Princess in Waiting came out, I’d probably give up on The Princess Diaries series.  This is my least favorite book in the series and I really think it was a waste of space-if you would’ve added some of Valentine Princess to it I think it would’ve been a stronger book.

The good thing about this particular installment, was I sort of knew what I was getting into when I reread it, so I didn’t absolutely hate it (at least as much).

I didn’t like it either.

I think the biggest problem with Princess in Waiting  is that it takes so long to get started.  It’s like the audience is waiting for the actual book to begin and gets stuck on Meg Cabot Airlines reading some stupid day planner.

That’s what it really felt like to me.

I could care less what happens in Genovia.

It’s a fictional country that really bad movies take place in, that’s all I need to know.

When the actual book starts-meaning, when Mia returns home to New York-there’s really not a plot.  Just obsession over Mia’s first date with Michael and then possibly having to cancel said date.

It’s really a big let down after Princess in Love.

I don’t think it’s as bad as I thought it was, because there were a few parts of it that were tolerable.

Like Lilly.

She was actually rationale in this book.  Which surprised me, because in most books I really can’t stand her.

I also liked the fact that Tina had a bit of a story in this book too.  It’s nice seeing supporting characters get a starring role for once.

So, props on that.

Still though, I really didn’t care for this one.

Overall Grade: D. I think this was a very, very, weak installment.  Probably my least favorite in the series.  However, it wasn’t a total wash.

 

Valentine’s Day means flowers, chocolates, and all-out romance.

That is, it usually means those things. But when you’re Princess Mia, nothing happens the way it’s supposed to. For one thing, Grandmère seems determined to prove that boy (or Michael, as he is commonly known) isn’t the right one for the crown princess of Genovia. And Mia isn’t having much luck proving otherwise, since Michael has a history of being decidedly against any kind of exploitative commercialization (Valentine’s Day, as it is commonly known).

Boris can declare his love openly to Lilly, and even Kenny comes through with a paltry Whitman’s Sampler. So why can’t Michael give in to Cupid and tell Mia he loves her—preferably with something wrapped in red or pink and accompanied by roses—in time to prove he’s Mia’s true prince?

Source: GoodReads

This novella really captures what I liked about the early years of this series the best, the zany humor and immaturity that you see only in Mia’s freshman year.  Sure, you begin to see that annoying neurosis that followed the series on from book four to Mia’s intervention in book nine, but it’s muted in this novella.

I love how Valentine’s Day is treated in this book and how the romance is handled in a fairly realistic way.  That was the biggest plus about this book.

What I didn’t like was that Lilly acted is a fairly unrealistic way towards Boris, which I think was done solely for foreshadowing purposes (this was published after  book five, so I think Cabot was trying to hammer the point that Loris was dead in the water).

This is overall, a really cute book.  While there are some hints and innuendos over what happens in future books, it’s not required reading.

Overal Rating: B+ enjoyable fluff.

 

 

 

What on earth is that princess up to now?

Most princesses would prefer to spend their spring breaks in Gstaad, or some other equally unpronounceable European hot spot.

Not this one, though. Hammer in hand, Princess Mia embarks on an epic adventure for one so admittedly unhandy: along with her cohorts from school, she’s off to build houses for the less fortunate. It doesn’t take Mia long to realize that helping others—while an unimpeachably noble pastime—is very hard work. Will her giving spirit prevail? Will the house collapse due to royally clumsy construction? And most importantly, will Michael stop working long enough to kiss her?

Source: GoodReads

This installment isn’t much, and really doesn’t pertain to the over all series (I’m wondering if it’s even been reprinted recently).

The nice thing about it, besides the fact that it’s profits went to a wonderful cause, is that it’s a novella you’re not required to read.

I hate it when novellas are super important to the book-case in point, Sweet Sixteen Princess.  True, authors  will recap for us what went on but you’ll still inevitably buy the novella.

The plot of Project Princess is pretty simple, Mia is building houses for a Habitat Humanity type group during Spring Break with her friends and chaos insures.

Probably the most significant thing to happen in this one is that Boris barfs a lot.

I really did enjoy seeing my last glimpse of happy Loris.  I know a lot of people don’t like this couple, based on what happens in book five, but they are fun to read about while they last.  Michael and Mia are cute too, but a bit overly mushy.  Loris is just sort of humorous together.  And I really miss seeing that with Toris-even they they are much more suited together (i.e. Tina would never let Boris attempt suicide with a globe).

For huge Princess Diaries fans, I recommend this one, if you’re sort of a fair weather fan, it would be okay to skip.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

Princess Mia is dreaming about the prom – and contending with a hotel workers’ strike – in the fifth, supremely hilarious episode of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries. This time, Mia’s in the pink about the upcoming Albert Einstein H.S. prom, and she’s crossing her fingers that Michael will ask her to go. (They’re in love, so why wouldn’t he ask her, right?) But during Seven Minutes in Heaven at her b-day party, Mia learns that Michael is not the prom-going type. Good grief, what’s a princess to do?

To make matters worse, Grandmere has gotten a busboy fired due to a mishap with her pooch, Rommel, at a swanky restaurant, so when all of the city’s busboys go on strike, it causes a chain of events that result in Grandmere crashing at Mia’s mom’s place, her pal Lilly Moscovitz picking up a picket sign, and the prom being brought to a screeching halt.

Thankfully, staunch yet boy-wise Grandmere has a plan to change Michael’s mind and put everything back on track, making Mia the happiest “prom princess” on this side of the Atlantic – and readers more starry-eyed than Molly Ringwald in her prettiest pink frock.

Following up the brief Volume IV and a Half and introducing a new addition to Mia’s family, this knee-slapping fifth volume makes the series glitter brighter than ever, placing yet another jewel in Cabot’s crown.

Source: GoodReads

What I Remembered:

 Really hating Lilly in this installment and not really feeling Toris.

What I Got:

Really hating Lilly.  Finding Toris a lot more tolerable and believable.  And finding Mia almost as intolerable as Lilly in this installment.

In fact, if I wanted to, I could have a drinking game every time Lilly or Mia annoyed me.  I get that they’re fourteen/fifteen year old girls, but both of them need a good swift kick in the pants to reality.

To be fair though, I did enjoy Princess in Pink a lot more than I remembered.

I had some nice things going for it.

For one, it had an actual plot (unlike Princess in Waiting) and their was some slight character development in this book.

I think the best thing about this one was Michael.  Sometimes I really wonder how he tolerates Mia so much though, because her neurosis is full blown in this one.

He really must be the master of zen.

The supporting characters though really carried this novel, save for Grandmere.  I think this is the point where she starts developing into almost a caricature of sorts.  But you could argue that about all the characters to a certain degree.  Especially Lilly and Mia.

I keep complaining about them…I guess I should discuss them.

Lilly is just a horrible person.  It’s a conclusion I came to a long time ago with these books, though she does have an entertaining moment or two when she’s not stuffing her tongue down some random guy’s throat. In this book, we don’t see those entertaining quirks since she’s mostly sticking her throat down some guy’s throat.

Add to it, that Mia is sort of  slut slamming her friend at the end with this little gem:

Tina just called.  She is kvelling over getting to go to the prom.  It is, she says, like a dream come true.  I told her I couldn’t agree more.  She asked me how I thought we’d come to be so lucky.

I told her: Because we are both kind and pure of heart (237).

Look, I get Lilly was really stupid in this installment.  But as her best friend Mia shouldn’t quasi dis her to Tina with that stupid pure of heart trash.  Then again, this is the girl that obsesses about her virginity to the point where she calls it her precious gift.

And plus, it’s just prom.

I think this is me being no longer fifteen.  Maybe I could’ve agreed with Mia back then-maybe not.

Despite my grievances with two of the characters, I did find this installment to be a huge improvement over Princess in Waiting.  It’s fun and light, and actually has a plot.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

 

Objective Binge For Next Month:

  • Princess in Training (book 6): I remember it mainly being a bridge book, more than anything else.  It might surprise me or it might be a recap of book four (shudders).
  • The Princess Present (book 6 1/2):It’s a cute novella that heavily borrows from “The Gift of the Magi”.
  • Party Princess (book 7): Sexy dancing. And Grandmere does broadway. Oh, and JP.
  • Sweet Sixteen Princess (book 7 1/2): The last novella-chronologically speaking, in the series.  This one is actually pretty important to the series.

 

The Unofficial Princess Diaries Binge Read: Hello, Michael

Princess Mia is getting married!

Just imagine this but in wedding clues (and yeah, I could’ve gotten one in the wedding dress but then it wouldn’t have been Michael and that’s just not right).

And I have to wait until June to read about it.

But a supposed long lost sibling is getting a spinoff in the same universe.

I have to wait till May to read that book.

Well, I guess I can always feel my Diaries crave by rereading all the previous books in the series.

Which means, Binge Read!

Between now and the release of From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess I’m going to be rereading a few installments a month (and I’m including the half books in there too). This month, I’m looking at the first three in this awesome series.

So, far things have held up…well, pretty good.

She’s just a New York City girl living with her artist mom…

News Flash: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that’s why a limo meets her at the airport!)

Downer: Dad can’t have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.)

Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material.

Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne.

Well, her father can lecture her until he’s royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty–no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what’s a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?

First things, first.

The outdated pop culture references are still hilarious.  Though some of them are sot of sad/cringe worthy if you think about what has happened to some of the celebrities since the publication of this book.  Also, I still need to watch some of those Lifetime movies that Mia mentioned like Why Me? I still haven’t been able to find that one yet.

Oh, well.

It was also hilarious to look at some of these characters due to spoiler purposes, and sobering too (especially if you read about a certain character’s death from the excerpt posted from Royal Wedding).

The writing is really simplistic.  Being a grown woman, versus a gawky thirteen-year-old, it’s a lot more obvious now then it was then.  And it really does read like a young girl wrote it, as the series progresses Mia’s voice in turn seems to progress as well.  And I have to give Cabot props for that.

The plot overall was really simplistic.  And simple succeeds here.  It’s odd seeing it succeed, when I have seen  several YA books fail with the same plot: The geeky girl falls is head over heals with the popular jock, only to not notice the gorgeous nerd next door.

I think one of the reasons why it worked in Diaries and not so many other books is because Mia and Michael don’t get together at the end of this book.  The progression of the relationship isn’t rushed.  And besides, the Josh plot isn’t really the sole focus of the book.

Overall Rating: An A something Mia would never get in Algebra.

No one ever said being a princess was easy.

Just when Mia thought she had the whole princess thing under control, things get out of hand, fast. First there’s an unexpected announcement from her mother. Then Grandmère arranges a national primetime interview for the brand-new crown princess of Genovia. On top of that, intriguing, exasperating letters from a secret admirer begin to arrive.

Before she even has the chance to wonder who those letters are from, Mia is swept up in a whirlwind of royal intrigue the likes of which hasn’t been seen since volume I of The Princess Diaries.

Source: GoodReads

This is weird.  I’d almost classify Princess in the Spotlight as a bridge book, but it’s not.  There are some important things that happen in this book that make its existence needed.

Mainly, the fact that Mia’s mom gets knocked up and ends up marrying Mr. G (it’s not that much of a spoiler since Mia’s mom is puking in the first couple of pages of the book and we all know that Mr. G is going to do the honorable thing…).

What is also interesting about this particular plot, is reading and reflecting upon it now makes me realize how Grandmere-zilla Grandmere is going to be at Mia’s wedding.

I wonder if Vigo will make an appearance.

And if she’ll want John Tesh to provide the music again.

For Mia’s sake I hope she has gotten over her fear of drinking foreign water and elopes…

Digressing aside, I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would.  While I did initially enjoy it (a lot), when I was planning the reread, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it as much.

I was wrong.

That being said, Princess in the Spotlight wasn’t a perfect book.  There were some things I just wanted to shake Mia for.

Mainly, her love life.

It was very obvious Kenny was the one behind the secret notes, but once again I think this is an age thing more than anything else.

Some of the jokes in this installment have also gone a little stale with the passage of time-but that’s a given for about every book in the series.

A good reflection point,I think, in this book is Lilly and Boris’s relationship.  It’s obvious that they are having problems at this point and this is only book two?  They’re together I think until at least book five.  It’s sad I sort of rooted in a weirdo way for Lilly and Hank.  I can’t remember if we ever see him again…I want to say yes, but I think it was just a brief cameo.

Anyway, this one’s a lot of fun but not as pitch perfect as the original.

B+

Meg Cabot continues the hilarious adventures of Mia Thermopolis, a very ordinary teenager whose life takes an extraordinary turn when she learns she’s the heir apparent to the throne of a small European country. In this third installment of The Princess Diaries, Mia’s self-deprecating wit, self-absorption, and adolescent angst are as entertaining as ever as she struggles with the realization that despite being a princess, she isn’t guaranteed any fairy-tale endings.

Source: GoodReads

I shouldn’t love this book as much as I do.

But whatever.

Mia and Michael x’s infinity.

Yes, I’m fangirling.

But you would too with these two.

Okay, to get serious, Princess in Love would’ve been a nice wrap up to the series to be honest.  It sort of had that perfect gooey feeling to it.  Where you just wanted to wrap yourself up and love it.  Even the ending scene was just perfect.

That would be in part becuase the series was originally intended as three books (Cabot didn’t know if she was going to get to write more), luckily she did.  Though, for Mia’s neurosis that probably wasn’t the best idea.

While I could be fangirling about how this book made me want my ship so badly, hate stupid Kenny for getting in the way, etc. I am going to note on one big thing that really made me open my eyes in this installment: Lilly.

You know, I can’t stand her.  Which is odd because I used to be one of the biggest Lilly defenders.  I think my issue with this character is that I’ve grown up and I just want to tell her to shove it, like with that stupid walk out of hers.

Yes, Lilly, shut the hell up.

 

I know, she gets worse.  I know she has issues.  But come on…

She has a hot brother though, so I guess that makes up for everything.

That and she can make some hilarious comedic relief.

It’s interesting just how polarizing this character is.  I am really interested in seeing the state of her relationship with Mia post book ten.  I hope that more grown up Mia tells her shove it whenever she gets on one of her tyrannical rants or at least leaves her alone with Grandmere…that would probably count as elder abuse.

In all, this one was still enjoyable as ever.  Especially if you like angst in your ships.

A+

 

Objective Binge for Next Month:

  • Princess in Waiting: I remember not being a huge fan of this one, but we’ll see if it improves with time.  I do remember the ending was nice.
  • Valentine Princess: A half book that actually published a lot later than the series, but chronologically speaking it takes place after book four, so I’m reading it here.
  • Project Princess: Another half book that takes place during Spring Break.  I remember there being no shampoo.
  • Princess in Pink: PROM!