This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through snail mail at the permission of Feiwel and Friends. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.
Middle Grade, Contemporary
Part of a Series?:
First in a Planned Series
May 19th, 2015
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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.
I don’t often read middle grade novels, I tend to focus more on YA and NA but there was NO way at all I was going to turn down the chance to read the newest novel by Meg Cabot in one of my favorite fictional worlds, The Princess Diaries series. Without getting too spoiler-y, we’re introduced to Olivia, who is a somewhat awkward, but totally adorable 12 year old girl who somehow gets into a load of trouble with the most popular girl in school, who wants to beat her up after school. That is, until she finds out that her father, a mysterious man who has sent her letters and presents for years, is actually a crown prince, and her sister, a princess, THE Princess Amelia of Genovia. Enter a whirlwind of changes for the girl as she steps into her new role as Princess Olivia.
There was SO much I liked about this book.
One, the fact that Olivia is biracial. We need more and more diversity in our books and this is just plain beautiful. I love every bit of this completely.
Two, I love that Olivia is writing in a journal the way Mia did. It feels so familiar. It feels familiar to get to know this character in such a similar way that you got to know Mia when she learned that she was a princess.
Three, I love that Olivia is younger than Mia, and I love that she has had different reactions, and a different exposure to this news. True, she’s younger than Mia was in that first novel, and this book is geared toward a different age group but I love that we get a sort of familiar story but with a brand new character.
Four, Olivia is just SO incredibly fun. She’s spunky and honest and fun. She kind of takes things as they came to her. She’s a princess? Cool. She gets a new dog? Awesome. She has the weirdest grandmere on the planet? All right. She has to move to Genovia to learn how to be a princess? Why not?
Five, I like that even though this is a middle grade novel…it hints at some deeper things as well. First off, that even though she’s with her family now, her real family hasn’t been there for quite some time, even though her father knew she existed. Sure, there’s more to that and Olivia’s mom wanted her away from that, that sort of thing but it opens up a larger question of whether she would have ever gained a relationship with her father.
And it also shows the family that she had already, a family that treated her kind of terribly actually. Her adopted family was kind of neglecting, even in their attempts to protect her so that’s kind of interesting as well.
Six, we get to see Mia again, and see the beginnings of her preparations for her wedding to Michael (which, like, ohmygod, I’m fangirling so hard over this! I’ve been waiting…let’s see, I was 12 when I read the first book…so 14 years, 15 years for this?). And Olivia is going to be a junior bridesmaid. We get to see Prince Philipe and Grandmere and it just feels good to see those characters again. I LOVED it.
Straight up, its a great book for those who are already fans of The Princess Diaries and would like a dose of nostalgia and I think it’ll be great for those who haven’t been introduced. They can meet Olivia and perhaps go back and read Mia’s story and that’s just fabulous!
5 out of 5 stars