Synopsis: Desi’s life is a mess. Her friends have turned on her, her crush can’t remember her name, her job forces her to dress as a giant rodent, and her parents don’t understand her. All Desi wants is to stop feeling invisible and start making an impact, so when a woman arrives in a bubble and offers Desi a job as a substitute princess she jumps at the chance. Okay, she screams first –who wouldn’t?- and then begins her new life of filling in for royals when they need a secret vacation. But who knew being a princess could be so hard?
Hook: Who wouldn’t want a fairy-godmother type saying you have inherent magic in your being and asking if you would like to be princess for a day?
Plot: Desi’s life as a regular girl is predictable, but once she steps into another princess’s shoes you wonder what situation she’ll land in next. Once the reader understands the issue at hand, Desi does the expected when trying to improve her princess’s lives.
Location: Desi’s hometown is Idaho, but as a princess replacement she gets to travel all over the world, from Amazon jungles to Las Vegas to France.
Theme: This moral lying not so quietly below the surface is about female empowerment and self-actualization. It gives the reader a lesson that anyone can make a positive difference in other people’s life and to always be yourself.
Character: Meredith isn’t exactly the regular fairy–godmother type, but since she is actually an agent for princess that’s hardly surprising. She comes off as uncaring and impatient, but that’s just because she’s trying to help the princesses get ahead in the business and learn life-lessons.
Romance: Desi has a crush on a boy who is the stereotypical dumb jock who dates the most popular girl at school. She is blinded by his looks and fails to see his personality isn’t what she believes it to be even though he treats her badly. As a sub Desi begins to have a crush on the same prince the princess she is replacing likes, but that situation is mimicked by her real life and provides the new boy in town as a possible crush-replacement.
Character Development: Desi has a tendency toward invisibility when her ex-best friend isn’t busy humiliating her. She has little self-confidence and cries easily, making her a prime target. As a princess substitute she does all the things she wishes she had the nerve to achieve in her own life, and knows it will help the princesses who feel just like her. In doing this, Desi begins to gain confidence and discovers her own worth.
Point of Interest: In the book, a shirt one of the characters is wearing says “Floccinaucinihilipilification” which is apparently the longest real word in the English language and apparently means to estimate something to be worthless.
Quote: Maybe that’s what made them fairy tales. Real life is never how you dreamed it.
The Verdict: The tone of the book is on par with someone quite young, with a protagonist who is only thirteen. This isn’t particularly the sort of book I would read at that age, and is perhaps better suited for someone a couple years younger. It is a cute book, and would be something a mother and daughter could read together as it is reminiscent of a cross between Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted.