Title: The Princess Diaries.
Author: Meg Cabot.
Genre: Fiction, teen, romance, humour.
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2015.
Summary: For Princess Mia, the past 5 years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity - living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. Michael manages to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he pops the question! But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with - she has a 12-year-old half-sister. With that, planning a wedding to please the world, possibly having to take over the throne of Genovia, and a surprise at the doctor's office, Mia has her first great adult challenge yet.
My rating: 6.5/10
My review: If you've followed Mia all through the series, you will find this book incredibly frustrating. Whilst it's understandable that the whole appeal of the series was a slightly awkward girl thrust into the world of royalty and high society, and struggling to reconcile her quirky lifestyle and personality with the now constant and strict rules of social behaviour, in this book, I think the author made a huge mistake by remaining consistent with that general idea. The few years in between the publication of the last book and this one make this very evident. The main issue is that Mia is now 25 years old. However, even though she has been a princess now for 10 years (not to add very malleable and influential years), she still is absolutely incapable of dealing with the pressures of her life, almost seemingly more so. It's almost as if she has entirely failed to adjust, and seeing how she seems to have more or less entered a stable time in her life, there is a high logical possibility that gets stuck at the back of your mind that if she hasn't managed to adjust by now, through her teenage years into adulthood, she may never adjust. Since the series was aimed at teens, a lot of its readers would also be in their mid to late 20s when this book came out. Personally, I found that where at 16 I could relate and agree to her constant freaking out and over-reactions, at this age I find them annoying and frustrating, especially from a person my own age, and the wish to reach into the book, pull Mia out, shake her around and tell her to Suck it up kept mounting stronger with every page. I suppose arguably some people who grew up with Mia may find this book comforting - she's 25, a princess, has dozens of people working for her and managing her life, and still has absolutely no idea how to deal with anything in her life, something many 20-year-olds can easily relate to - for me it's too much of a stretch. Years have passed, both for myself and for Mia, and I find this character now my age having had absolutely no character development of any kind, continuing to act like a teen, very disappointing. Throw in the very over-used soap-opera moments of "Oops, I have a secret sister!" (clearly a device to set up for another identical series), and "Oops, I am pregnant!" (leading to an uncomfortable question of whether being unable to deal with the simplest things, Mia can ever step up to the overwhelming task of motherhood), and this book was not worth the read. It doesn't only lets down the reader, it also lets down Mia.
♥ Dominique, the director of Royal Genovian Press Relations and Marketing, says if we don’t encourage the media, they’ll go away—like stray cats are supposed to, if you don’t feed them—but this isn’t true. I’ve never fed the media, and they still won’t go away.
♥ Honestly, what good is owning a castle if the person you love doesn’t want to share it with you?
♥ All I did was comment on how much I disapprove of the sheikh. I didn’t put out a big sign that says HEY, OPPRESSED PEOPLE OF QALIF, COME TO GENOVIA! Like these protesters apparently think I did.
Still, when someone who is being mistreated in their home travels very far and under horrible conditions to get to yours, shouldn’t you at least offer them shelter and something to eat and drink until they sort things out? It seems like common courtesy to me.
So what is everyone’s problem?
♥ Generally I don’t believe in pouring out one’s hardships to one’s hairdresser, because, as Grandmère is always reminding me, “Your personal baggage should only be shared with family, Amelia . . . and the bellboy, of course.” This is pretty good advice, except that usually family members are the ones causing the baggage problems, so I find that therapists and good friends can be more helpful with it.
♥ But if you think about it, I have no real problems. Aside from my obviously annoying housing situation, my mentally disturbed family, and the fact that a stalker says he wants to kill me.
♥ “Straighten up. You look like the Hunchback of Notre-Dame. And there was no happy ending for him, you know, like there was in the insipid Disney version, which I suppose you adore. Quasimodo lies down in the tomb with Esmeralda—who also dies—and perishes of a broken heart. That’s real literature, none of this maudlin pap you love so much. That’s the problem with your generation, Amelia. You all want happy endings.”
I was so stunned I think my eye stopped twitching momentarily.
“We don’t, actually,” I said. “We want endings that leave us with a sense of hope, possibly because the world we’re living in seems to be falling apart right now. People can’t find work to support their families in their own countries, but then when they try to immigrate to countries where they can, they’re either enslaved—like in Qalif—or stopped at the border and told they aren’t welcome, like in Genovia. And you’re inviting the people who are telling them that to dinner! What kind of message is that sending to the populace?”
♥ “I thought you kids today were all about the casual hookups,” Mom said. “Friends with benefits, and all of that.”
“Yeah, well, maybe you need to stop watching rom-coms that bill themselves as edgy but still end with the guy running through an airport.”
♥ What saddens me is when I ask young girls (and boys) at the center what they hope to be when they grow up (so lame, I know, and a sign that I’m getting old, because only adults ask young people this question. Why do we do it? Because we’re looking for ideas! I’m twenty-six and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, except of course that I want to help people and be brilliantly happy and with Michael Moscovitz, of course), all too often they answer, “When I grow up, I want to be famous, like you, Princess Mia!”
At first this made me very depressed. Famous? Being famous isn’t a job!
Then I realized that it is. Being famous is very hard work, but it’s also empowering, because you have influence over a large number of people and can do amazing things with that power.
And it doesn’t even matter anymore how you happen to come by that fame, singing or dancing or posting a sex tape on the Internet or finding out that you’re a princess. It’s what you do with your fame that matters.
♥ I’m starting to realize why weddings are so important, and why people like them so much, even me: when our own lives aren’t going so great, weddings give us something to feel happy about. A bride is taking a journey, a magical journey toward a future of happiness and joy, and even though we aren’t taking that journey with her, we want to vicariously enjoy the ride.
♥ Oh, well. I guess that’s what brides—kind of like princesses—are for. We might think we’re in charge, but when all is said and done, our main purpose is to give people something to admire, and also to make them feel better about the world.
♥ Reality-show casting agents recruit the same kind of people as cults and terror groups do, ones who feel like there is something missing from their lives, very often romantic love.
And since the only way woman-haters like my stalker are going to get a date is if they kidnap one or one is assigned to them by a cult leader or central casting, often such people’s decision to join up proves to be a good one . . . until they get blown up or kicked off the show.
♥ This just goes to show that you can have all the money in the world—even a castle and a crown—and it still can’t buy you happiness. Or common sense.
♥ Worse, several of the refugees’ TB tests have come back positive.
They’re being treated in the hospital, and are in good condition, but Cousin Ivan has lost no time using this as ammunition in his campaign. He is now declaring that Diversity = Disease.
Really! This is his new campaign slogan!
And some of our citizens seem to believe it, not understanding the basic facts that what actually causes disease is bacteria, or, put more plainly, overcrowding, poverty, lack of clean drinking water, and idiots like Cousin Ivan.
♥ Often there’s no “right way” to look or think or act, but because we’ve been so conditioned by the media to think so, we actually mistrust our own better judgment.
♥ “Lars, you already smashed the aunt against a wall. Let me take care of the niece.”
“And end up with another broken foot?”
He pointed out that the girls on the popular television show Pretty Little Liars are children too, which revealed:
• Lars watches Pretty Little Liars.
• Human Rights Watch should probably be keeping an eye on public and private schools all over America because they seem to be breeding enough child murderers that several popular television shows have been based on the subject.
♥ But kids whose parents shield them from the truth—censoring their reading material, lying to them about who their parents really are, cushioning them from every possible blow—are the ones who tend to get hurt the worst once they get out into the real world . . . not because the truth is so awful, but because they haven’t been taught the skills they need to handle it.
And suddenly it hit me—with even more force than Dr. Delgado’s announcement a few hours earlier—that this is what my grandmother’s princess lessons, tedious as they’d seemed, had been about all along. Not standing up straight, or using the correct fork, but preparing me for the real world. The wonderful, amazing, but occasionally distasteful and sometimes even horrifying world where most people are incredibly decent and well meaning, but occasionally you do encounter someone who is going to try to use you, or even abuse you, and when that happens, there isn’t always going to be a bodyguard—or a parent—around to rescue you.
Grandmère never cushioned a single blow, and this is why: I needed to know the truth, just like Olivia, because a princess needs those skills to survive.
♥ This, of course, mortified Tina—she didn’t want any of us knowing she and Boris had nude photos of each other.
But I thought it was sweet . . . and it also allowed me to be able to sagely point out, “Let he—or she—who does not have a set of nude photos cast the first stone.”
(This did not amuse Grandmère, however, especially since I said it in front of the pope.)