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From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess: Meg Cabot; Read by Kathleen McInerney Hardcover – May 19, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Return to the world of Cabot's widely popular series in this sweet and sassy spin-off featuring the younger half sister of Princess Mia Thermopolis, Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison. Olivia, a biracial sixth grader with dreams of growing up to be a wildlife illustrator, believes herself to be completely ordinary and average. In fact, that's how she's being raised by her Aunt and Uncle O'Toole. Consumed with texting her BFF Nishi and avoiding an afternoon scrape with Annabeth, the most popular girl in middle school, Olivia's world is about to become a reality show when her sister Mia arrives in a chauffeured limousine, ready to whisk her back to her rightful home in Genovia. Readers familiar with Cabot's previous books know that these princesses are made of tough stuff and use their brains (as well as their bodyguards and limousines) to save themselves and make the world a better place. Olivia's voice comes through strongly in the text, though her overuse of exclamatory phrases can be a bit off-putting. VERDICT This bubble-gum flavored contemporary tale will be a perfect fit for Fancy Nancy alumni and readers not quite ready for Cabot's longer novels.—Meg Allison, The Moretown School, VT
“The nation of Genovia gains a new resident in this amusing spin-off...Cabot's own black and white cartoons further enliven Olivia's entertaining and candid notebook entries, which will have readers looking forward to her future escapades.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Cabot manages to combine wit and lavish details to positive effect...newcomers to the Cabot magic will be charmed. A sweet fantasy, both funny and highly satisfying.” ―Kirkus
“Olivia, who's biracial, is a lively, engaging character whose peppy, often-wry diary-style narrative details her experiences and progressive discoveries about her background, royal life, and the true meaning of family....this entertaining, quickly absorbing read will have readers anticipating the sequel.” ―Booklist
“Author Meg Cabot is ready to put her tiara back on [with] a new character, Olivia Grace. She's a middle-school girl in New Jersey who discovers she is Princess Mia's long-lost half-sister. And much like her older sister, she will be thrust into the royal spotlight and will chronicle the adventure in a journal, complete with drawings.” ―USA Today
“This sweet and sassy spin-off featuring the younger half-sister of Princess Mia Thermopolis ...will be a perfect fit for Fancy Nancy alumni and readers not quite ready for Cabot's longer novels.” ―School Library Journal
“Olivia has an amusing and self-deprecating wit that makes the narration breezy and accessible, and Cabot's black and white illustrations liven up the tale. Youngsters who aspire to be the next Kate Middleton will find this enchanting and perhaps instructional.” ―BCCB
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is about a girl named Olivia who lives with her aunt and uncle in New Jersey after her mother has died. She finds out that her father is the prince of a small European country making her a princess.
The book,written in first-person diary format, follows Olivia's journey as she finds out about her secret past, learns about her new family, and the truth about the family she has been living with.
The book isn't "princess-y" in the traditional sense. There isn't a lot of focus on tiaras and frilly dresses. The book deals with bullying, loyalty and loneliness. The main character is brave and charming. Like her older sister Mia, Olivia is relatable and multi-dimensional.
The book is the first in a series of books (unknown how many books there will be). My 2nd grade daughter found it to be easier to read than Meg Cabot's Allie Finkle books. She finished it in a couple of days and I caught her laughing out loud a couple of times. My daughter also was inspired to start journaling.
On a final note, the book has some cute illustrations by Meg Cabot.
This book really struck home for me. I was bullied a great deal at that age, including fights. It was great to see it handled realistically. Although she is saved the first time through unrealistic measures, the second time is true to life. Painfully so.
I also liked the diversity of this book. (Although there was a bit of confusion for me with Olivia's parentage. She's half black, half white. Her father, and the royal family, is white, while her dead mother is black. However, her aunt was her dead mother's sister, and her whole family is white, so I got a little lost on that part.) Olivia's best friend is Indian. It's all done with such natural grace, that it is also true to life. It isn't forced "Here's the token ethnic kid".
It is written from Olivia's perspective, as though you were reading her diary. The texting and language is very age realistic, and kids (probably only girls) would really get into it! Although I will say that texting isn't really done that way anymore, now that everyone uses swipe.
Without spoiling, I will also say that the foul-up of her aunt and uncle is also very true-to-life, if a bit on the more-pleasant-than-usual side.
I highly recommend this book as a fun read for any age.