Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


****The Princess and the Pauper

by Kate Brian

Reviewed December 6, 2003.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 2003.  266 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF BRI).
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #4, Young Adult Contemporary Novels

The back cover flap on this book says that Kate Brian “has written many young adult novels under another name.  She lives outside of New York City.  As a child, she always dressed up as a princess for Halloween.”  This book reminds me so much of The Princess Diaries, that I strongly suspect that Kate Brian is Meg Cabot.  If not, then she does a great imitation!  However, if she is Meg Cabot, then she’s continuing her trend of getting better and better.  This story doesn’t have any of the smut that is thrown into especially the earlier Princess Diaries books.  It’s just a good, clean, funny yarn about a normal girl taking the place of a princess.

The princess of Vineland is coming to Julia’s school.  She’s not very interested.  She’s busy trying to keep her grades up so she can earn a scholarship to a good university, like the scholarship she won to her current private high school.  She doesn’t have time for boys or partying.  Right now all she’s worried about it how to make some money so she and her mom won’t get evicted from their apartment.

The princess of Vineland has fallen in love with a rock star over e-mail.  She wants nothing more than to skip an embassy ball and go to that star’s concert.  When she bumps into Julia in the bathroom, her best friend notices that they look almost identical.

Julia doesn’t want to go along with their idea of switching places.  But they offer her money, money that could save their apartment.  She’s to go to the ball in Princess Carina’s place.  Her one particular instruction is to avoid Marcus, the young nobleman the king and queen want Carina to marry.

When Carina doesn’t show up at the appointed time to switch back, Julia realizes she may have a very big problem.

Here’s a fun and entertaining story of an ordinary girl getting to be a princess for a day.  This one’s nice and clean, and would make a great family movie.

Reader comment:  An anonymous reader gives this book four stars with the comment, "It is sso good!!!  I wish there were a second book!!!"

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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