"The first thing you'll have to learn, Olivia, if you're going to get this princess thing right, is how to take a compliment. When someone says something nice to you, don't put yourself down. Just say 'thank you.' Try it."
I am a big fan of the Princess Diaries series. I haven't read all the books yet but I did watch both the movies and loved them. I am not much of a girly girl or someone who loves princesses but I do enjoy reading about rags to riches stories, especially when they involve some kind of royalty. Yep, I am a sucker for such stories.
So I was delighted to see this book arrive at my doorstep sometime last month. This is the first (and currently only) book in this Middle School Princess series, but it ties up very closely with the original Princess Diaries storyline.
Olivia was brought up by her aunt's family after her mother died. Her father still sent her letters but she hadn't met him so she didn't really remember how he looked. The Princess of Genovia, Mia Thermopolis, arrives at her school one day and that's when she learns the truth - that she is Mia's half-sister, and that her mother didn't want her to grow up in the eyes of the public which is why she didn't learn about this sooner. She soon gets to meet her Grandmere and father and is totally glad to have found her real family.
But her aunt's family, who has custody of Olivia, isn't that willing to hand her over to the royals. On top of trouble with her foster family, Olivia is receiving serious flak from a classmate who hates the fact that Olivia is a royal now and therefore at the top of the middle school totem pole.
I always think I should read more middle grade books but I never seem to. Middle grade books have something in them that always wins me over - something that YA books fail to do most times. From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess was no exception. It was cute, with a very down-to-earth character who doesn't just take her new-found status for granted and stop caring about her principles or her friends. I am not sure that real 12-year olds won't swoon with excitement if they find out that they are related to a royal family member - I know I would have been beside myself at that age. Olivia even confesses that it seems better when it's happening to other people than when it's happening to you when her friend asks her how she feels after finding out that she is a princess.
Something I loved a lot was the diversity in this book. Olivia's mother is African American and her best friend is Indian. It was nice to see some demographic color. I did wish that there was more background on Olivia's mom - maybe that shows up in some other book? Overall though, I was charmed. This was a cute and charming read and definitely a book that Princess Diaries fans shouldn't miss.
I received this book for free for free from the publisher.