Royal Reads

I can hardly believe that the Royal Wedding was over a week ago! (And before you ask, yes I was someone who got up to watch the whole pre-wedding coverage, wedding, after-wedding coverage and then went to work a full day on three hours of sleep.)

Now, I blame my grandma for my interest in the royal family. But I can safely blame Meg Cabot for interest in princess books. And because there are such a plethora of great books to choose from, in the weeks before the wedding I did a mini read-a-thon of nothing but royal reads. Here’s a mini-booklist, complete with mini-reviews.

“Princess of Glass” by Jessica Day George. (2011)

This is a sequel to “Princess of the Midnight Ball” which was released last year around this time. I immediately picked up the first book because it was a re-telling of my favorite (little known) fairy tale, “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” George’s first novel followed the eldest sister Rose throughout the book. In a clever move, George writes her second book with a new fairy tale in mind — Cinderella — and a new main character, the second eldest sister, Poppy.

As much as I liked Rose in the first novel, I have to say that I liked Poppy more. She’s feisty! And I thought that the elements that George choose to weave in from the traditional Cinderella story were perfect ways to remain faithful to the old tale while adding in new material. Overall, this is a series that I would very much like to see continued, all the way through all 12 princesses as main characters.

“Princess for Hire” and “The Royal Treatment” by Lindsey Leavitt. (2010, 2011)

This adorable series follows Desi Bascomb, a small-town girl from Idaho, who is dealing with her fair share of frustrations: an unrequited crush, a horrible ex-best friend tormenting her, and much worse — her job at the local pet store requires dressing in a groundhog costume…in public. But when Desi reads an advertisement about being a substitute princess, her troubles are about to get even more complicated than they already are.

I absolutely adore this series. I think Desi is a fully rounded character, and is so sweet and endearing that readers will naturally root for her and her decisions. I don’t want to say much about the sequel and ruin the ride for everyone, but needless to say, Desi’s journey includes romance, secrets, royalty, and one wild ride! My one sadness is that I now must wait for the next book in the series. (And I sure hope that there is a next book SOON.)

“The False Princess” by Eilis O’Neal. (2011)

Nalia has been raised her whole life as a princess — trained in all manners of royal history, business, languages, and proper curtsying. So you can imagine her surprise when after her sixteenth birthday, her parents call her into the throne room to reveal that her name isn’t Nalia and she isn’t a princess. Cinda — her true name — was only place on the throne to prevent the real princess from being killed. Now cast out of the palace, Cinda must find out who she truly is and where her place is in life.

This book really surprised me! I picked it up off our new books shelf in the library on a whim, and have been book-talking it to my teens even since. I thought that it was clever, well-written, and had a heroine that I really fell for. Cinda is so confused and hurt at first, but grows so much throughout the novel. Her determination really stood out, and was such a pleasure to see further develop from thoughts to real action by the end of the book. I will definitely be looking out for O’Neal’s next book.

And of course, a list for you of princess books that I’ve already read before this week (some I’ve read years and years ago) and loved!

“The Princess Diaries” by Meg Cabot. (2000)
Ordinary Mia Thermopolis discovers that she is actually the only heir to the Genovian throne and not a contemporary American teenager like she thought.

“Entwined” by Heather Dixon. (2011)
Azalea discovers a way to take her and her sister’s minds off her mother’s death — a magic passageway into another world, a world filled with dancing. Another retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” (Told you it was one of my favorites!)

“A Kiss In Time” by Alex Flinn. (2009)
Talia is awoken from her 300-year sleep by modern-day Jack who now must save her from the witch that cursed her so many years ago.

“Dragonfly” by Julia Golding. (2009)
Princess Tashi is horrified when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil, but when the two are kidnapped they are forced to try to put aside their differences to escape.

“Ella Enchanted” by Gail Caron Levine. (1997)
Ella is cursed to be obedient by a fairy godmother, and after her mother dies, she sets off to try and remove the curse.

Any book by Tamora Pierce. (“Alanna,” 1983)
All of Pierce’s books (in both the Tortall series and the Emelan books) have princesses and princes. I adore these books and have been reading them since I was a very small teenager.

And that’s not even counting all the brilliant fairy tale re-tellings (like “Ice” by Sarah Beth Durst; “Ash” by Malinda Lo; “Sisters Red” by Jackson Pearce; etc.) that don’t necessarily have princesses in them, but satisfy me all the same!

But tell me — what did I miss? (Please, I’m on a reading roll and I’d like to keep it that way!)


    1. Ooh, that one looks very good! I’ve placed a hold at my library to read it, thanks!

  1. Several Robin McKinley novels have princesses in them (or girls who become princesses), and the same thing is true with Shannon Hale – my favorites being either The Goose Girl or The Princess Academy. Another favorite is Patricia C. Wrede’s Dealing with Dragons. But perhaps you’ve already read those? In any case, there’s no lack of wonderful princess stories in YA lit. Have fun!

    1. Ack! I can’t believe I forgot to list “Princess Academy!” That is my favorite Shannon Hale as well. And yep, I read “Dealing With Dragons” — but that’s another one I should add to my list.

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