Books

THE PRINCESS DIARIES by Meg Cabot | Review

It’s confession time, folks: I am twenty-two years old and this summer was my first time reading The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. Now, some of you may be thinking, Well, Holly, that’s not so bad. But it gets worse: before reading this book I had only ever seen the second Princess Diaries movie, not even the first one. *cue gasps of shock and horror* I know, I know, it’s a wild life I lead. Since I watched the second movie when I was eight years old, all I could really remember about it was Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway, and the fantastic soundtrack I used to listen to on my Walkman in the back of my parents’ car. Because of my strange relationship with this story in its many forms, I thought I had a pretty solid idea of what reading this book would be like.

As you can probably imagine, my vague initial expectations of Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries stand corrected.

This book was far more hilarious, wacky, witty, and timeless than I expected. Although this book was published back in 2000, at times it felt like it could have been written yesterday (apart from its mention of instant messenger chat online). Lily, Mia’s best friend, struck me as very ahead of her time–not just in terms of her age, but also in terms of her attention to issues in New York City. While their views were sometimes problematic (Lily’s petition, for instance) at least this book touches on issues of race, gender, and the environment. I especially love Mia’s mom as a feminist figure. She’s not afraid to date other men even as Mia’s father is at her house dealing with the princess dilemma.

This book is also just hilarious. Between Mia’s narration and all of the wacky situations she finds herself in, there were so many moments that made me chuckle as I read. I especially loved Mia’s essay on women she admires as well as all of her interactions with Grandmére. As frustrating as Grandmére was, she was also really fun to read about. Every aspect of this book seems to operate at a heightened level of drama, but it works well because it’s all kept within its own intense, ridiculous world. (Also, is this the original Hannah Montana or what?)

The gradual, solid character growth in this book pleasantly surprised me. It was refreshing to see Mia befriend Tina, another royal at her school, and stay true to that friendship. I also liked how Mia and Lily’s friendship was realistic: friends fight over petty things sometimes, but in the end Lily was there for Mia when it counted, as any good friend should be. Mia’s experiences with guys also showed a lot of growth–which was honestly so satisfying to read, not going to lie. I’m so happy with how this book ended that it almost makes me not want to continue on with the rest of the series… even though I think it’s pretty clear that I inevitably will pick up the next book after such a great reading experience.

Overall, The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot surprised me in a great way. The narration is witty, the character growth is refreshing, the social commentary is thought-provoking, and the ending is lovely. This book is all around an entertaining, fun read. I can’t believe it took me twenty-two years to finally read it…

What are your thoughts on The Princess Diaries? Have you continued on with the rest of the series? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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10 thoughts on “THE PRINCESS DIARIES by Meg Cabot | Review”

  1. I must admit, I’ve read these books but I have seen the first movie MANY times – I’m pretty sure it was my second makeover montage (this first going to She’s All That). Also, is Mia’s dad alive in the books??
    However, I have read several other series by Meg Cabot that are super cute. There’s the high school ‘Queen of Babble’, the vampire series ‘Insatiable’ (third book never published), and the college mystery sleuth series ‘Heather Well / Size 12 is not fat’ (which is also a nice body positive series). They’re all really cute series!

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  2. It’s so wonderful to see that you enjoyed this one, Holly! I remember adoring this film when I grew up, but I never decided to pick up the novel! It’s so nice to see that the narrative was witty and humorous! I love having a good laugh while reading contemporaries! And it’s so lovely to see that Mia has some great character growth in the novel! ❤

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  3. Omg I read this book aaages ago when I was a teeny thing (this is making me feel so incredibly old) but I remember loving it so much! Especially since I absolutely loved the movie and basically wanted to be royalty like Mia. Hahaha I’m 100% sure I didn’t focus on character development or anything when I read it back then, so I wonder what I’d think of it if I read it now! Great review Holly 🙂

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  4. I’m two years older than you & still haven’t read this so I’m even worse! I hadn’t even had it on my list but your review has convince me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! ❤

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  5. Meg Cabot was easily my favorite author growing up, and the one I’ve read and own the most books by. The Princess Diaries was my first introduction to her, and I loved every moment of this series, even though the drama is… a lot as the series progresses. It was so fun that Cabot wrote an adult sequel to this as well as her Mediator series a few years ago – seeing my pre-teen faves all grown up was awesome. Great review!! 🙂

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