I Am Princess X

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
I Am Princess X Book Poster Image
Friendship tale, graphics blend well in absorbing mystery.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Some Seattle geography and landmarks. "Darknet" (websites where illegal goods can be purchased anonymously) briefly explained.

Positive Messages

"The truth shall set you free." Follow your instincts, and don't give up even if your ideas seem crazy. People's experiences may change them, but their core traits never change. Narrator May makes one sexist remark about guys and their one-track minds.

Positive Role Models & Representations

May and her friend Trick are smart, loyal, and resourceful. They bend and break some rules and laws but only after carefully considering pros and cons. Their friend Jackdaw doesn't like to take drugs or substances that can "lie to him."

Violence

Brief, non-gory descriptions of dead body in mystery-solving context. Blood mentioned a few times but not described. Several gunshots fired. Fighting with brief mentions of hitting, throwing cinder blocks, and stabbing. Graphic novel illustrations show a gun being fired, a car crash, and a bleeding fantasy creature without gore. A bad guy described as a possible "stalker chasing jailbait" or pedophile.

Sex

Brief mention of downloading dirty books.

Language

Infrequent: "crap," "butt," "kick-ass," "hella."

Consumerism

Lots of technology, fashion, snack, and soda products establish mood or character. Many mentions of Starbucks (Seattle setting). Lots of social media mentions. Heroine May reads Web comics "Penny Arcade" and "Transmetropolitan." "Darknet" and what it's used for (websites where illegal items can be purchased anonymously). 4chan (website for posting anonymously). The story involves a website, iamprincessx.com, which is a real site promoting the book and author. Gives a Dropbox Web address for a JPEG of Princess X.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teen smoking mentioned. Narrator sees a cigarette being lit in passing.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that I Am Princess X is a YA debut from the veteran adult author of Boneshaker. It's a traditional novel with sections of comic-book illustrations weaving a fantasy element into the story. Violence is infrequent and not gory and includes discussion of a murder mystery, a fight, gunshots being fired, mild fantasy violence, and a few mentions of blood. Strong language is infrequent and mild, with several uses of "crap" and "kick-ass." Sexual content mentions downloading "dirty books." A bad guy is described as a possible "stalker chasing jailbait" or a pedophile. Lots of typical teen fashion, food, and tech products are mentioned. Kids may want to check out iamprincessx.com, a website that in the book is at the heart of the mystery but in real life mainly promotes the author and the book. Heroine May reads Web comics "Transmetropolitan" and "Penny Arcade"; readers may want to check them out too. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKjbartolotta July 11, 2015

Amazing thriller about girl's friendship

Great book for older teens, might be a little rough for anyone under twelve . Emphasizes the important of friendship and does away with any hint of romance. Gre... Continue reading
Written byAnonymous August 25, 2016

A dark mystery

This book actually turns out to be quite a dark story, but an excellent one none the less.
Kid, 12 years old March 26, 2017

Awesome

okay, so I thought the book. Was going to be kinda boring because it looks short and I'm not sure how well the back-of-the-book summary describes the book... Continue reading

What's the story?

Best friends in fifth grade, May and Libby become obsessed with writing and illustrating their story about Princess X, a katana-wielding, high-top-wearing princess out to save her kingdom. But Libby and her mother die in a car crash, and all the work Libby and May did on Princess X gets thrown out by LIbby's father. Years later, May is turning 17. While back in Seattle visiting her father, she starts to see Princess X graffiti and stickers around town. A bit more digging reveals a popular Web comic about Princess X, with details about the story only May and Libby could know. To find out the truth about Libby and who's behind the Web comic, May will have to dodge the Needle Man, enlist the help of a hacker, and trust the mysterious Jackdaw.

Is it any good?

This YA debut from veteran author Cheri Priest is an engaging, absorbing mystery with comic-book illustrations that weave an intriguing, original fantasy element into the story. The mystery is compelling and unfolds in entertaining ways, thanks to the solid writing, colorful but believable characters, and the illustrations.

The illustration style is a bit childlike, but it adds realism to the idea that it's a comic written and drawn by talented, if inexperienced, teens. Heroine May's voice is believable, and kids will relate to her determination never to give up on her friendship or her search for the truth.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about blending fantasy elements with reality. Does putting the fantasy parts in comic-book format work for you? How do the two styles enhance, or work against, each other?

  • Did you like the illustrations? Did you wish there were more, or are there enough to tell a satisfying fantasy story?

  • May had dreams about Libby surviving the car crash. Have you every had a dream that felt like it was trying to tell you something? Do you have a strong "sixth sense," and is it usually right?

Book details

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