The Princess Diaries were a big part of my teen years, and I read all of them, even the in between ones. Mia was awkward and amusing, and though I certainly can’t relate to being a princess, there’s plenty of moments of embarrassment anyone has probably had.
And they’re good books, too.
If you think you might read the books–and I highly suggest them, even if you’re past your teen years–you shouldn’t read this review yet. But if you have, I promise it will be spoiler-free for the book.
If you’ve seen the movies, I have to say the books are very different, with a lot more layers, as books tend to be. And of course, if you read the series, you need to read this final book. Didn’t you always want to know a little more about Mia, and her life? I know I did.
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It’s been five years since Mia graduated, and life has been going well for her. She and the love of her life, Michael, have been doing well–in their personal lives, social lives, and careers. (Outside of the occasional paparazzi issue.)
Then Michael proposes, and of course she says yes. Problems start immediately, with her grandmother leaking crazy elaborate wedding plans of her own devising. Mia doesn’t just have to deal with her grandmother’s runaway wedding plans, but political issues that can make big changes for the future of Genovia. Can she keep it all together?
Mia has grown a lot as a person, but she’s still the funny, insecure, honest, smart character I adored as a teen. She tells her story in the same mix of diary entries and whatever other kind of text works, a modern epistolary novel of text messages, emails, and notes. The story makes you laugh often, with plenty of serious moments about family, responsibility, and love, and does a good job of wrapping up some plot lines, without making things too neat. And there’s a surprise addition that allows for a spin-off series, though the series has a big spoiler if you look it up before you read the book.
Overall, this is a good series for teens, and loners who feel a bit weird of all ages. You can relate to the struggle, and also hope–family and friends are what you make of them. And even the strangest of us can find love.