Cover Image: The Princess Diaries

The Princess Diaries

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Member Reviews

A classic contemporary tween novel that I am so glad was brought back with a new cover. Everyone knows of the movie, but the book is so different and really has different elements to the characters that really make them fun to read about.
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The book is a classic and it was cute to see this reboot, but it wasn't standout in terms of what is being released today.
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Having read the books a long time ago, I was excited to see the updates made to make this a more middle grade friendly book. Unfortunately, it seems like very little changes were made to this edition in regards to the original. I think a few things could have been altered to make it more age appropriate (i.e. the joke about Mia's trans neighbor, etc).
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THE PRINCESS DIARIES was sent to me by Net Galley, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review.
Harper Collins Publishers published this fiction novel, written by Meg Cabot. She has also written many other PRINCESS books.
I have read and watched all three of the adult PRINCESS DIARIES books. This is a children’s version. It contains selected scenes written for a younger girl. Mia Thermopolis is a teenager who finds out that her dad is the prince of Genova…which will make her the princess. This book is about Mia’s writings in her diaries, plus her schedule and notes. She writes about times with her best friend, Lilly Moscovitz. She writes of her crush, Josh, and her arch nemesis, Lana. She even writes about her mom dating her Algebra teacher.
I have always loved all of the PRINCESS DIARIES books and movies, and I also love this book. I highly recommend it and all of the PRINCESS DIARIES SERIES. I love how it/they were written so that an early reader can read them without difficulty.
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Other than the cover, no changes have been made to this to make it appropriate for MG readers. MG isn't just "the kids' table" for YA that's now deemed "too young." There are jokes about trans people (Mia's neighbor is trans, that's the whole joke) and sexual assault. It's not that MG can't handle tough topics or shouldn't have trans characters, but transphobia and "haha sexual assault" isn't funny and doesn't belong in MG books. (Or YA, for that matter.)
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Reprint of the previously popular and successful The Princess Diaries. No new content, so far as I can tell, other than updated packaging and cover art. I think the reboot would be better off combining several titles in one book to get past that hump of "this is nothing like (and not as good as) the Disney films."
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So, so fun. This book brought with it so many nostalgic feelings! I never read it when it first came out when I was in middle school, but I had seen the movie like 10000 times. Reading this brought back all those fun, youthful feelings and I was surprised to see how accurately the movie represented the book! I think a re-release of this book is a fantastic. idea! Mia and the other characters are probably even more relatable to today's youth than before - I think it will be very well received to this new generation. 

I adored the diary style book as I always feel like those are the most fast paced. Loved it! Super fun.

*I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review*.
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I probably would have been the first person singing major praises for a middle-grade edition of Meg Cabot's <em>The Princess Diaries</em>. In fact, when I first found out about this edition, that's <a href=""><em>precisely</em> what I did</a>! So...why am I now <em>not</em> singing its praises? Well, after reading and extensively comparing this new version to the original, I'm left feeling as though all they did with this book was slap a new cover on it and pull out some incredibly <em>minor </em>details that weren't exactly appropriate for a young audience. But other than that? There's <em>almost nothing</em> that's actually different about the writing of the book.

<b>Cover Change ≠ YA → MG</b>

Let me just unpack this for you; <em>The Princess Diaries</em> middle-grade edition is pretty much the same book as the original novel. I compared the two side by side as I read and noticed precious few <em>actual</em> changes to the text. The most glaring was honestly an incredibly off-color joke about Michael making a bomb in his bedroom to use on their school--considering the climate of school-shootings, this is really not even a little bit okay then or now--that was removed.

But honestly? Not much was changed. As an educator and someone who works with middle-schoolers quite often, I was thoroughly disappointed in the lack of significant changes. It's as though the person in charge of making <em>The Princess Bride</em> for a middle-grade audience was just like, "well, if I add a pretty cover to the front and take out some stuff that's less appropriate today than it was when this was originally published, that should be enough."

<b>This is SO irritating to me.</b>

If you're repurposing a novel for a middlegrade audience, you should also take a look at changing some aspects of it that don't match a middlegrade level. For example, the book still contains words like misogynistic, repressed, and bohemian. While this is not inherently wrong, what average 8-12-year-old is going to know what those words mean?  Now, I typically work with struggling readers, but I have to say that I don't really see your average middlegrade reader really doing so well reading words like misogynistic or bohemian correctly, either. And what, exactly, does the book gain from having these words without explaining them, anyway?

Not much!

And I'm all for educating children within the confines of fictional books they enjoy. I'm all for expanding their understanding of the world. That said, I really don't think it's necessary that a book meant for children ages 8-12 read a book that uses phrases like "establishing close interpersonal relationships with women" and the word "testicle." And I'm not saying censor the heck out of your book when you market it to a younger audience, but at least be a little more reserved. Someone 8-12 years old doesn't really <em>need</em> the context of cancer requiring a "testicle" to be cut off to understand that Mia's father's cancer made it so he could no longer have more children.

<b><em>The Princess Diaries </em>currently has an AR book level of 5.7.</b>

Its middle-grade counterpart basically has the same AR level on account of not much really having been changed to make it accessible to younger readers. By this logic, average children at the end of 5th grade and younger readers with more advanced skills should be able to access this book in terms of being able to accurately read it. I would expect something closer to 4.5 for this to be more geared toward younger readers. And I genuinely do think the fact that this is called a middle-grade book and the book level hardly decreased at all is going to mislead parents and teachers alike looking to buy it for a young reader.

And this is without even getting into the comprehension piece in which phrases and words like those I mentioned above are going to go right over their heads. And this isn't necessarily <em>bad</em>, but it's not really a great look for a book parading itself as the "middle-grade edition." You may as well just buy this book for the cover and cover alone because the interior really hasn't been repurposed much for a middle-grade audience. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is.

<em>I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.</em>

This review will go live on the Reader Fox blog on July 18, 2020.
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