Book Review: “The Princess Diaries”

“The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1)” by Meg Cabot

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Other Princess Diaries books

Summary from Goodreads:

She’s just a New York City girl living with her artist mom…

News Flash: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that’s why a limo meets her at the airport!)

Downer: Dad can’t have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.)

Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material.

Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne.

Well, her father can lecture her until he’s royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty–no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what’s a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?

I was 11/12 when the first Princess Diaries movie came out. I really enjoyed the movie. It was cute and funny and fluffy. When I learned that the movie was based on books, I knew I wanted to read the books because surely the books were even better! Not quite. The movie was absolutely Disneyfied so reading the book was a bit of a shocker for a tween like me. I liked the books okay because I did read a few of them but stopped after a while because they were running a bit more mature than my age at the time. Since then I’ve been meaning to revisit the books because much has changed since then. I’m more well versed in YA books and I’m more mature. This was a perfect book for the Relive the Magic square of my Reading Outside the Box challenge!

Mia was pretty easy to relate to. She’s not popular and a bit awkward. She’s intelligent but still struggles with Algebra. She’s passionate about her causes. She’s a bit dramatic. All of that comes across as natural. I initially thought she sounded a bit over dramatic but  that can be easily attributed to the story coming ‘directly’ from her and teenagers can be a wee dramatic.

We’re just meeting these characters so there’s not much to them at the moment. Lily was harsh and kind of annoying. Mia’s mom was a bit ditzy and a bit out there. Is she really selfish enough to date her daughter’s teacher without thinking about how much it will bother Mia? Grandmére was frightening more than anything. Mia’s father is not focused enough of Mia’s well being for my taste. He knows what he’s forcing her into and he’s really not that kind about it. I’m sure they become well developed over the course of the series but they’re quite lacking by the end of this book.

I still wasn’t fully engrossed in the book. I liked it. It was funny and enjoyable. It just wasn’t something I completely loved. It was missing a bit of charm. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its movie but it’s hard not to! I still like the movie a lot more which I know is a bit unfair to the book.

The bottom line? It was okay!

I read this as part of my Reading Outside the Box Challenge. This was for my Relive the Magic square. See my progress here.

reading outside the box


13 thoughts on “Book Review: “The Princess Diaries”

  1. I’ve really had the urge to re-read this series, especially since I only got to book 5 before I stopped and she has announced a new book in the series, along with another book in my favourite series of hers, the Mediator (YEEES <3). Definitely want to re-read/finish this series soon!

    • Hearing about the new book made me want to revisit the series as well. I haven’t “seen” these characters in a long time but hearing Mia and Michael getting married is awesome.

  2. I actually heard Meg Cabot talk before. And she mentioned that she started writing this book because she had these memories of when her mother did start dating her teacher. So that part really did happen to Meg Cabot, which I find really interesting.

    I’m a big fan of Meg Cabot. Her books rarely really stick with me, but I find her books charming and just plain fun. This is definitely a bit different from the movie, though.

  3. I remember liking this series a lot when I was younger, but I like the movie better too. I think some of Cabot’s other series are a bit more to my taste now that I’m older, especially her Persephone retelling and her Mediator series. It sounds as though you might have liked this better now than you did when you were younger, which is pretty fun. I’m always nervous to re-read books I liked when I was younger for fear the opposite will happen. Perhaps I should do what you did and try something I didn’t like as much the first time around 🙂

  4. I can see your point, but personally I like the books far more than the movie. Maybe this is because I read them first, or maybe because I have such good memories of hours and hours of losing myself in Mia’s thoughts. To me, the character in the books feels more like a real person than Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of her in the movies. Though I do love the movies. A lot. ❤

    • I could definitely see how you’d like the books more if you read them first. Having two distinct camps for the book/movie is guaranteed when the two are so different. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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