From School Library Journal
Grade 6–8—Readers still lamenting the conclusion of Meg Cabot's "Princess Diaries" (HarperCollins) will eagerly embrace this first volume in the adventures of Desi Bascomb. The 15-year-old is stuck in Sproutsville, ID, where she is tormented by her ex-best friend, Celeste, and is working a miserable job at Pets Charming, where she is forced to dress up as a groundhog. Then she spies an ad for a princess sub and meets agent Meredith, who informs Desi that she has a rare magical gift that will allow her to apply royal rouge and stand in for any princess in need of a break. Desi is sent on three missions for three very different young women, and though she is told not to interfere, at last she sees her chance to make an impact. Though the plot is predictable and concepts such as royal rouge and getting from job to job in a bubble are silly and contrived, overall the novel is frothy fun. Desi is constantly comparing herself to seemingly perfect Celeste, and it is only through her new job that she begins to discover her own worth. This is a fast-paced and humorous read with a dash of romance. It's sure to leave readers longing for the next installment.—Shari Fesko, Southfield Public Library, MI
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Fifteen-year-old Desi feels she is wasting her life in Idaho, between her job at the pet store, where she has to wear a groundhog costume, and her bitter ex-friend Celeste, whose father was sent to jail by Desi’s attorney dad. So when Desi is offered an enchanted position as a “sub” for real princesses, why would she say no? With a desire to help these girls—whether it’s an older sister’s crash diet or a rite-of-passage ceremony—Desi gets in some hot water and in the process discovers some important truths about her own life. With creativity and a sense of humor, this first novel is a delightful romp. The provision of magic makes all things possible, and the sense of place is vividly realized. Fans of The Princess Diaries (2000) and Ella Enchanted (1997) will be pulled in by Desi and her refusal to accept the status quo. Fortunately for them, Leavitt’s first novel is not her last—she is working on a sequel. Grades 5-8. --Melissa Moore