The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot
All she ever wanted was for her best friend’s brother to notice she was alive—and to pass freshman Algebra. But now that her dad’s told her she’s heir to the throne of the country of Genovia (and that her horrible Grandmere is going to be giving her princess lessons every day after school) Mia Thermopolis has enough problems to fill a lifetime of diaries….
I’m going to tell you a secret: The Princess Diaries is my favorite book series of all time. No, really. I read these books so often I can probably recite them. So let’s just say that I am totally restraining myself by not reviewing each book individually ( there are alot of them).
Let me start with the basics. This series takes Mia from the beginning of her freshman year of high school—when she is a flat-chested, self-conscious girl unaware of her royal status—to the end of her senior year of high school where she has gained far more maturity and composure (ok, not really). As the reader, you know everything there is to know about Mia because girlfriend spends a whole lot of time spazzing out and writing in her journal.
Even though Mia is the princess of the small country of Genovia, her life closely resembles that of any normal teenager. She has a huge crush on her best friend Lilly’s brother (moment of silence for the one, the only Michael freaking Moscovitz), she’s got hair that resembles an upside down YIELD sign and she’s barely passing Algebra (which is really bad since her mom is dating her Algebra teacher). The only thing different for Mia is that she spends her afternoons enduring princess lessons from her grandmere; a chain-smoking, sidecar-drinking bish with tattooed eyebrows who is nothing like Julie Andrews people. Nothing.
Throughout her high school years we see Mia transform from an awkward fourteen-year old to an adult—one that doesn’t necessarily have all the answers but who has made enough mistakes to know what not to do. From crushes and insecurities to things like prom and The Sex, it’s hard not to recognize yourself in each journal entry. Cabot has created an entire cast of characters to love, including Mia’s kick ass parents; her best friend Lilly ( love her and hate her); Boris (he tucks his sweater into his pants. How can I not love him?); Tina (the hopeless romantic); her big crush Michael, who is the ultimate hero because he isn’t annoyingly perfect; and most of all, Mia herself.
Guys, these books are hilarious. Part of the time you’ll be laughing at funny conversations and lists the characters make and part of the time you’ll be cringing at the embarrassing things Mia says and does (two words: Sexy Dance). Meg Cabot is also the master at throwing in pop culture references, including the best reference of all, Star Wars. Her writing is funny and full of cringeworthy moments not unlike those most people experience growing up. When it comes to young adult books, she is the standard by which all authors should be measured.
Crush Intensity: 100/5 Yeah, I know that makes no sense. I’m at the Edward and Bella level of intensity with these books (yes kids, they are exactly my brand of heroin).
The Way I See It:
Mia is one of those girls who has no idea she’s actually cute because she’s so self-conscious and awkward. Throughout the series she learns to deal with her height and flat chest so that near the end she actually comes into her own. She goes from being a girl who tries to blend in with her surroundings to a beautiful young woman who is finally sure of herself.
The guy who played Michael in the real movie is adorable, but tiny in an I-Want-To-Put-Him-In-My-Purse-And-Carry-Him-Around-Like-A-Puppy kind of way and not in a Michael-Moscovitz-Fake-Man-Of-My-Dreams kind of way. If I were making the movie, I think someone tall with dark hair and eyes would have to play the part. Neither of these actors look a thing like the Mia and Michael in my head but they embody something that could be like the real people (because they’re real, right?).
Memorable Quote: Gah ! There are so many!
Soundtrack: Why would I create one when someone has already done so? PS. I might have song #3 on my iPod. Just sayin.
If I Could Make a T-Shirt: I would make a Skinner Box one obvs, to show that I am a fan of Michael’s band (because, yes…he’s a genius, he’s cute and he’s in a band. Is there nothing he can’t do?). There’s one on Meg Cabot’s website but it has the boy fit I so totally dread. Grandmere would have a heart attack if she saw it.
Stalker Moment: (not normally a feature for us, but roll with me here) I took my then eight-year old daughter to meet Meg Cabot at a book signing because she is a huge Allie Finkle fan (Ms. Cabot’s middle grade series for girls). I totally used my kid as a beard because most everyone there was between the ages of eight and ten. When we got up to the table to meet her, she was so nice and gave my daughter all kinds of advice on writing (she wants to be an author someday) and then she told me not to be embarrassed of my MM love because she wrote those books for her and her grown up friends. So ha! And then she signed my Forever Princess book and I spazzed out in the parking lot. Good times.