Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Although I'm no longer a young adult, I still love well-written young adult literature. I'm not sure what it is about the genre that is so satisfying, but I think that--at its best--the genre tends to focus on characters who experience life in a very raw, emotional way. Teens have very little sense of intellectual irony or of perspective; everything is very immediate and personal. That can make life's rough patches much more difficult to get through, but there's something oddly cathartic about revisiting that experience of life from time to time.

The Secret Life of Prince Charming is Young Adult Fiction done well. Very well, in fact. The lead character, Quinn, is a teenage girl whose jaded mother tries to protect her by constantly harping about the fact that men are jerks and love inevitably leads to disappointment. Quinn goes on a quest, however, that will eventually lead her to develop her own sense of what love is and how it works (or doesn't, as the case may be).

Author Caletti has been compared to Sarah Dessen and, I have to admit, I had the same thought as I was reading The Secret Life of Prince Charming. That's not to say that she copies Dessen's style or that her work is in any way derivative; rather, Caletti and Dessen are both remarkably skilled at conveying the way that adolescents think and feel and experience life. Both authors deal with serious subjects but manage to maintain a nice balance between the highs and the lows that each character experiences. Most importantly, both authors manage to avoid stereo-types, which is what makes their books feel so authentic.

There are, however, two weaknesses that should be mentioned. First, Caletti does not do a very good job of creating distinct "voices" for the characters in the book. Almost all of the adult women have the same perspective and express almost identical ideas. That gets a bit old and it also tends to make things confusing during the first-person short narratives. I could never remember which woman was which because all of their stories were so similar.

Also, toward the end of the book it sort of felt like Caletti just had this one theme that she was beating into the ground over and over again. It would have been nice to have somebody focus on something--anything!--other than the incessant "And remember, girls, don't fall in love with a jerk!" speeches that permeate the final few chapters.
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