A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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?
- Author: Meg Cabot
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Fairy Tales, Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Publication date: September 19, 2000
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: ALA Best and Notable Books
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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