The Princess Diaries | Review

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The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1) by Meg Cabot

Finally, I have read The Princess Diaries. I saw the movies years ago when they came out, and was always able to relate to Mia, the plain, nerdy girl with frizzy hair who doesn’t want to be a Princess when she finds out she is one. I’m not sure why I never read the book until now, but what a delight it was.

Mia is the typical teenage girl; she’s not popular, hasn’t had a date, and sucks at Algebra. Her parents aren’t together, and never were, but when her dad finds out he can’t have any more children, life changes drastically for Mia. She is now the Princess of Genovia, and there isn’t anything she can do to change it.

The supporting characters are fun, though I prefer movie-Lily to book-Lily, as book-Lily is too harsh of a friend. Tina and Lars are other characters that were condensed in the movie but are a delight to read on the page, as is Mia’s father. Some of the characters are very stereotypical or their personality too one-sided, but it’s also a teen contemporary novel, so some of that is to be expected.

84b11fc6-f8f0-4996-8371-f38ff797aca9I listened to the audiobook, which was read by Mia herself, Anne Hathaway, which added another dimension to the story, and as I was familiar with the movie first, it helped me bridge the gap a bit better. It was fun listening to Hathaway read the characters of her father and Grand-mere with a French accent as well, which is more authentic than the British portrayal of those in Genovia in the movie (though I do absolutely adore Julie Andrews).

At times the narration got repetitive and whiny, and I wanted to shake Mia until she got over herself, but I also can remember being very similar to her when I was a teenager, which is part of the book’s charm.

The plot is thin, but this is more about the characters, about Mia and her self discovery and self acceptance. It’s written in a series of diary entries (hence the title), which is always a fun formula, and it even inspired me to pick up my own long-forgotten journal.

I can’t wait to read the rest of Mia’s journey.

Isla and the Happily Ever After | Review

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Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins

Isla is the third book in Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss trio, and my least favorite of the three.

The book returns to Paris, to the School of America in Paris where we first met Anna, St. Claire, and co, only this time we’re focusing on Isla, a character mentioned very briefly in Anna, and Josh, one of the core group of Anna’s friends.

Unlike Anna and Lola, Isla isn’t a love triangle, which was refreshing. Instead, Isla has had a longtime crush on Josh, but getting together with him seems too good to be true. And for me, it was.

tumblr_naisl7lD5H1qzusaso1_1280I didn’t buy Josh’s affection for Isla, and many of the critiques and worries Isla had, I agreed with. I also just didn’t understand Josh’s character. In Anna he was funny, passionate, and in the moment; in Isla he was none of those things. He seemed more of a wanderer, listless and bored, and I wasn’t sure what to make of him. When St. Claire showed up at the end of the book, however, he seemed back to his old self, but that disappeared the moment he was alone with Isla.


Isla herself wasn’t as strong of a character as her forebearers. Anna and Lola stood out with their quirks; Isla was simply a wallflower who complained too much.

While I can appreciate Perkins for writing realistic teen characters and emotions, and had I read this years ago I might have been better able to relate to Isla, I found her to be too insecure to the point where it was incredibly annoying, and her story didn’t interest me the way the others did.