Mia Thermopolis is your average urban ninth grader. Even though she lives in Greenwich Village with a single mom who is a semifamous painter, Mia still puts on her Doc Martens one at a time, and the most exciting things she ever dreams about are smacking lips with sexy senior Josh Richter, "six feet of unadulterated hotness," and passing Algebra I. Then Mia's dad comes to town, and drops a major bomb. Turns out he's not just a European politician as he's always lead her to believe, but actually the prince of a small country! And Mia, his only heir, is now considered the crown princess of Genovia! She doesn't even know how to begin to cope: "I am so NOT a princess.... You never saw anyone who looked less like a princess than I do. I mean, I have really bad hair... and... a really big mouth and no breasts and feet that look like skis." And if this news wasn't bad enough, Mia's mom has started dating her algebra teacher, the paparazzi is showing up at school, and she's in a huge fight with her best friend, Lilly. How much more can this reluctant Cinderella handle?
Offbeat Mia will automatically win the heart of every teenage girl who's ever just wanted to fit in with as little fuss as possible. Debut author Meg Cabot's writing is silly and entertaining, with tons of pop culture references that will make teens feel right at home within her pages. This is a wonderfully wacky read. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert
From Publishers Weekly
"This is how NOT a princess I am. I am so NOT a princess that when my dad started telling me I was one, I totally started crying." Raised in a Greenwich Village loft in New York City by her flaky-but-loving artist mother, ninth grader Mia Thermopolis is shocked to learn from her father that she is now the heir apparent to Genovia, the tiny European kingdom he rules. Her paternal grandmother further disrupts Mia's life when she comes to town to mold the girl into a proper royal. Cabot's debut children's novel is essentially a classic makeover tale souped up on imperial steroids: a better haircut and an improved wardrobe garner Mia the attention of a hitherto unattainable boy. (Of course this boy isn't all he appears to be, and another boyDthe true friend Mia mostly takes for grantedDturns out to be Mr. Right.) A running gag involving sexual harassment (including a foot fetishist obsessed with Mia's best friend Lilly Moscovitz and a sidewalk groper dubbed the "Blind Guy") is more creepy than funny, and the portrayal of the self-conscious pseudo-zaniness of downtown life is over the top (Lilly's parents, both psychoanalysts, get Rolfed, practice t'ai chi and attend benefits for "the homosexual children of survivors of the Holocaust"). Though Mia's loopy narration has its charms and princess stories can be irresistible, a slapstick cartoonishness prevails here. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) FYI: Plans are in the works for a Disney film to be directed by Garry Marshall and starring Julie Andrews as the grandmother.
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