From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess (From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess #1) by Meg Cabot
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: ARC provided by publisher. (THANKS!!!)
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound
In FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS a new middle grade series, readers will see Genovia, this time through the illustrated diaries of a spunky new heroine, 12 year old Olivia Grace, who happens to be the long lost half-sister of Princess Mia Thermopolis – Goodreads
Part of my great Meg Cabot readathon this year was to prepare not only for the new Princess Diaries book, but the new spin off that involves Mia’s half sister. What I enjoyed right away was that I was pleased to find out that Olivia’s mom was not who I was expecting her to be! At the end of the last novel, Forever Princess, Mia’s father is infatuated with a woman, and I was silly to assume that was going to be Olivia’s mom. But! I also loved that, right from the beginning I was shocked, and I enjoyed that.
I also enjoyed Olivia as a character. She is not Mia. While she has the same struggles in school that Mia had, because those struggles are universal, her friends are different, her home life was completely different, Olivia stands on her own. Olivia lives in New Jersey with her aunt, her aunt’s husband and his two children. While she feels loved, she’s not sure that they actually love her. They tolerate her. They accept the money her mystery father sends once a month, but she feels so lonely at home. She knows she’s meant for more.
And she is meant for more! What she doesn’t know is that she’s meant to be a Princess! Of Genovia! With Princess Mia! The Princess everyone loves makes a guest appearance including an illustration by Olivia. While Mia never knew she had a half-sister, now that she’s aware of Olivia, she doesn’t plan on letting Olivia go. No matter what Olivia’s aunt says.
What I loved was how fiercely protective people were of Olivia, those who really loved her, including Mia and their father. While Olivia isn’t perfect, she is a realistic pre-teen. She overthinks, she worries, she wants to fit in and be loved. Universal themes that so many pre-teens and heck, even adults, worry about.
With use of her own illustrations, Cabot, starts a whole new series, in a universe that was already dear to so many people. I cannot wait to see where Olivia goes next.