Hi Everyone! It’s Becky, again. I just devoured the latest book in Meg Cabot’s “From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess” series “Royal Crush” and I’m here to tell everyone all about it.
First things first, I have a complicated relationship with Meg Cabot’s books. There are some that I love so much (All-American Girl, Ready or Not, Abandon) then there are some that I thought were just fun reads (The Boy Next Door, How to Be Popular, Insatiable) and then there are the ones that I thought were just kind of “meh” (Airhead, the later Princess Diaries books). So, I was hesitant when it was announced a few years back that there would be a reboot book for the “Princess Diaries” which would result in a spin off series about Mia newly found half-sister. However, my worries were misplace and what resulted was some of Cabot’s best work (at least in my humble opinion). I enjoyed getting reacquainted with adult Mia, Lilly, and Michael as they traverse a new royal scandal in “Royal Wedding” (which I was lucky enough to get signed when the author visited my library system) and I developed a special fondness for Princess Olivia and her story of a new life with her father and sister in the Royal Genovian Palace.
“Royal Crush” picks up shortly after “Royal Wedding Disaster” with the Princess Olivia trying to find her place in her new family, her new school, The Royal Genovian Academy, all while learning how to be a princess. To make things even more complicated Olivia’s school is involved in the Royal School Winter Games. It’s a very excited event however Olivia doesn’t want to participate because she is eagerly waiting the arrival of her sister’s royal babies and is afraid to leave Genovia and possibly miss their births. Plus, there is a boy at Olivia’s school, Prince Khalil, who Olivia may like more then just a friend. Can Olivia figure out how to be a good princess, sister, and maybe get the prince to notice her?
There are so many reasons why I love this series. Cabot wrote an African-American princess that is smart and kindhearted and, also, is something we don’t get to see a whole lot of in books. Olivia is quirky and isn’t afraid to be herself even if it makes her seem a little odd. She is who she is and is unapologetic about it which is an amazing message to tell tween girls. Olivia doesn’t want to blend in…she wants to different with her wildlife illustrator career goals, her pet iguana, and her constant need to record her thoughts in her journal, she is just who she is and it is awesome. She accepts herself and is happy. Plus, she has a family that loves her and supports her which is another yeti of the YA lit world with even Mia’s former tormentor, Grand-Mère, developing a soft spot for our scrappy heroine. The book is humous and sweet and speaks honestly about friendship, family, and growing up.
Bottomline: “Royal Crush” is a fast and fun tween read filled with humor and a surprisingly empowering and heartfelt message.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5