The Princess Diaries

Book review by
Amanda May Dundas, Common Sense Media
The Princess Diaries Book Poster Image
U.S. teen learns she's a Euro princess in fun series start.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Gives readers a glimpse of modern royalty.

Positive Messages

Stay true to yourself. Be loyal to friends, family, and country.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mia is idealistic and a good friend, and her mistakes are mostly due to immaturity. She's suddenly welcomed into the popular clique by her former bully but chooses to remain loyal to her friends instead. She tries to do right by her friends, her father's country, and herself and mostly gets into trouble when those interests conflict. But she's a poor student who makes only a lukewarm effort to improve her grades.


There's lots of chatting about sex -- "making out," touching "above or below the waist" -- and condom use. A man pretends to be blind in order to "feel up" women on the street.


High school bullies use words such as "freak" to put someone down.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The popular "cool" kids are drinking, "getting wasted" to the point of needing an ambulance, and there's talk that they also do drugs. However, it's clear that the real cool kids are Mia and her friends, who don't drink or do any drugs. Though drinking is discussed frequently, it's mostly portrayed negatively.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries is the first book in a popular series. It inspired the 2001 movie of the same name. This modern-day Cinderella story is narrated as diary entries by Mia, a gawky high school freshman whose biggest concerns are her flat chest and the fact that her mother is dating her algebra teacher. Mia's shocked when her dad reveals that she’s actually the princess of a small European country named Genovia and, due to testicular cancer that caused her father to be infertile, now heir to the throne. As with many teen diaries, this one's filled with thoughts of sex, drinking, and friendship drama.

Wondering if The Princess Diaries is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byamanda w. April 18, 2017
Kid, 11 years old March 20, 2016

Loved this book!!

I read this book, fell in love, then read all of the other books. It is absolutely fantabulous and PERFECT!
Teen, 14 years old Written byAVW April 23, 2020

What's the story?

Unlike most little girls who dream of being a princess, Mia isn't thrilled to discover her royal lineage or future as heir to a throne. Forced to replace her boots with nylon stockings and high-heeled shoes is bad enough, but then her Grandmere also insists on giving her proper "princess" lessons, where she learns what to do with used napkins and how to handle declarations of love. Meanwhile, her best friend is mad at her, the cutest boy in school is suddenly interested in her, and she’s still flunking algebra even though her mother is dating the teacher.

Is it any good?

Mia’s multiple insecurities and gaffes makes her a lovable heroine, and readers will cheer her on as she fumbles her way to becoming the princess she's destined to be in this fun series start. The very earnest and mostly clueless high school freshman is still developing both physically and emotionally, and coming of age is painful enough without a media spotlight, not to mention a bodyguard following you around on your first date. But Mia's gawky struggles make THE PRINCESS DIARIES not only amusing but also relatable, despite its far-fetched premise. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it would mean to discover you're suddenly famous or very rich. Would it all be positive? What are some of the downsides?

  • Have you seen The Princess Diaries movie? How do you think the book compares?

  • Have you ever gotten news that changed the way you thought of yourself? 

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love princesses and friendship tales

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate