Rereading The Princess Diaries #5

Everything has worked out perfectly for Princess Mia. She’s realised what her talent is: writing. Michael, the man of her dreams is her boyfriend. She isn’t failing algebra anymore. Fifteen, she’s decided, is going to be a great year.

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That is until Grandmere’s dog Rommel escapes from her purse during Mia’s birthday dinner and runs riot around the restaurant, inadvertently causing one of the bus boys, Jangbu Pinasa, to lose his job. Grandmere could easily clean up the whole mess, but of course she chooses not to, leaving Lilly Moscovitz, Mia’s genius bestie to take up his cause and start a city wide hospitality strike that takes down most of the restaurants and hotels in New York.

Mia can’t help but notice had she never been born – and therefore not had a birthday celebration – none of this would have happened.

As if the whole Jangbu disaster weren’t enough to worry about, Michael has decided not to attend his senior prom, therefore depriving Mia of a night she has been dreaming of since forever!

Maybe fifteen isn’t looking so great after all…

Mia’s Best Moments

– Her ‘Movies That Feature The Prom As A Prominent Plot Device’ list (inc. Pretty in Pink, Ten Things I Hate About You, Never Been Kissed and Back to the Future)

– Her job on the Albert Einstein High’s newspaper: cafeteria beat. She says she’s paying her dues.

– Her amazing Nurse Mia moment when she presses her school sweater against Boris Pelkowski’s wound after he drops that globe onto his head because he’s so heartbroken over Lilly.

– When Grandmere tells her she should use sex to get Michael to take her to the prom and she misinterprets and thinks she means get Michael’s band a gig at the prom.

(note:  I wish I could remember whether I got that first time through reading these, but sadly I cannot. Oh, Grandmere).

The Drams

RIP Lilly and Boris, who’s sweater tucking self just did not measure up in the face of Jangbu’s hotness. However Lilly should have known better than to break up with her boyfriend by dragging a different boy into the cupboard during Seven Minutes in Heaven. So cold!

Welcome, Tina and Boris. Tina (screenname: iluvromance), saw Boris’ whole I will drop a globe onto my head if you don’t get back together with me thing as an act of epic romance, rather than just plain crazy.

Michael’s Best Moment

There are so many. But in this instance, I think nerdy boy’s discovery of the merits of Seven Minutes in Heaven has to be my favourite.

“’So we really have to stay in here for seven minutes?’ Michael wanted to know.

‘I guess,’ I said.

‘What if Mr G comes back and finds us in here?’

‘He’ll probably kill you,’ I said.

‘Well,’ Michael said. ‘Then I’d better give you something to remember me by.’

Then he took me in his arms and started kissing me.

I have to admit, after that, I kind of started thinking Seven Minutes in Heaven wasn’t such a bad game after all.”

Noughties Kid Nostalgia

Instant messaging! Oh, the hours I wasted as a tween IMing my friends. IM was where the serious shit went down. If you thought a boy liked you this was the place to talk about it with him.

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Rereading The Princess Diaries #4

Mia is finally dating Michael! … sort of. The day after they got together Mia had to go to Genovia for a month to be introduced to the populace. And, little does Michael know, now that she’s finally back in New York she can’t actually go out with him Friday night for their first date, on account of Grandmere forcing her to go to the Contessa Trevanni’s Black and White Ball. Apparently if she doesn’t it’ll cause some kind of international incident. She’s sure that Michael will break up with her when she tells him the truth. What kind of girlfriend cancels on the first date?

Mia is finally dating Michael! … sort of. The day after they got together Mia had to go to Genovia for a month to be introduced to the populace. And, little does Michael know, now that she’s finally back in New York she can’t actually go out with him Friday night for their first date, on account of Grandmere forcing her to go to the Contessa Trevanni’s Black and White Ball. Apparently if she doesn’t it’ll cause some kind of international incident. She’s sure that Michael will break up with her when she tells him the truth. What kind of girlfriend cancels on the first date?

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Mia learns:

– Always stick to the script when giving speeches to the populace. It turns out when introducing yourself as their heir to the throne of their country, people aren’t too interested in hearing your opinions on environmental issues. Even though the safety of the dolphins and turtles in Genovia is obviously way more important than yachting tourists.

– If you steal something from the Genovian museum, Grandmere will definitely notice.

Jane Eyre might not be such a great model for how to behave in your own romantic relationships (note: not all boys are like Mr Rochester (sadly)).

– It can be really difficult to tell whether your boyfriend loves you, like, romantically, or just as a friend. At least until you make out, that is.

– Sometimes it’s difficult to identify what your talents are. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have them. Your talent is probably staring you in the face, but you’re so busy doing it you haven’t even realised.

What Lillly’s Up To:

Despite being having her place in Mia’s heart usurped by the other Moscovitz, Lilly remains prominent. Her latest cause is to sue the production company that made the movie of Mia’s life for their unfair misrepresentation of her. She gets a meeting with them to discuss her potentially suing them, in which they instead offer to option her public access TV show, Lilly Tells It Like It Is. Whether she still plans to sue is unclear.

Michael’s best moment:

‘No, I don’t want to break up,’ Michael said, starting to look mad now – probably the way Mr Rochester looked when he heard Jane had been hanging out with that St John guy. ‘Mia, I love you, remember? Why would I want to break up with you? Now come and sit down and eat before it gets cold.’

Oh, Michael.

Grandmere’s Latest Crime:

Telling everyone at the Contessa’s Black and White ball that Mia is dating her cousin, Prince Rene. Seriously.

Rereading The Princess Diaries #3

Everything seems to be looking up for Mia. She’s raised her F in algebra to a D, she finally has a boyfriend and… well, she’s a princess. Her life should be perfect right?

Right.

Unfortunately the boyfriend is the wrong one. She’s dating Kenny, her sweet but ultimately unattractive lab partner, meanwhile, Michael Moscovitz – her best friend’s brother she has loved in secret for years – has started dating fellow computer club member Judith Gershner. Judith can clone fruit flies. As far as Mia is concerned – despite the D, algebra is a continual issue – she doesn’t stand a chance against a girl like that.

princess diaries #3

The princess thing is also a problem. She has to spend the coming Christmas in Genovia, the country she will one day rule. Preparation for this involves daily princess lessons with her evil Grandmere, the dowager princess of Genovia.

What Mia Learns

– Having a best friend who also happens to be a genius is hard work, and sometimes, when said best friend is planning a school-wide walkout (inspired by a teacher turning down her term paper proposal: How to Survive High School by Lilly Moscovitz (‘Students of the future will learn that the way to  settle their differences is not through violence, but through the sale of a really scathing screenplay – featuring characters based on individuals who tormented them all those years – to a major Hollywood movie studio. That, not a Molotov cocktail, is the path to true glory.’)) that will likely seriously hurt your algebra teacher, step-father and soon to be father of your half sibling’s feelings, it’s sometimes just best to pull the fire bell.

– Don’t allow boys who can’t ice skate backwards to ice skate backwards, they will pull the both of you over and the whole thing will be highly embarrassing.

– Your cousin might not be plotting your murder to steal your claim to the throne, but he probably is using your image without your permission to advertise his clothing designs.

– Advice from the empress of Japan: Always make sure your kimono is securely fastened before you raise your arm to wave to the populace.

Grandmere’s Best Moment

Grandmere is basically evil. She scares everybody she comes into contact with. At one point she tells Mia to keep dating Kenny until she finds someone better – for practice. That said, the lady has her moments.

‘You are not a loser, Amelia,’ Gradmere said. ‘You are a princess. And princesses do not run away when things become difficult. They throw their shoulders back and they face what disaster awaits them head on. Bravely, and without complaint.’

Lars

Lars is Mia’s bodyguard. He is present for basically everything that happens during the series. In general, I have no interest in reading existing books from alternative perspectives (I think it is a money grabbing move by lazy authors), but I would totally read this series narrated by Lars.

Rereading The Princess Diaries #2

Mia Thermopolis recently found out she’s the heir to the throne of a small principality in Europe called Genovia. And this isn’t her only problem.

Mia Thermopolis recently found out she’s the heir to the throne of a small principality in Europe called Genovia. And this isn’t her only problem.

She has to take princess lessons with her Grandmere, who’s primary hobby seems to be the torture of young princesses. Her mother is having her algebra teacher’s baby. And she’s in love her best friend, Lilly Moscovitz’s brother, Michael.

In this book, Mia has to deal with her Grandmere planning her mother’s wedding to her algebra teacher, Mr Gianini, without her mother’s permission. Helen Thermopolis doesn’t do anything that she doesn’t want to. Mia is convinced the whole thing is going to be a disaster. Her dad claims he has the situation under control, but she isn’t so sure.

the princess diaries #2

In addition to all this, Mia has started to receive anonymous love letters. She dares to hope that they might be from Michael, Lilly’s brother who she has been in love with since forever. But her admirer – to Mia’s extreme frustration – will not reveal their identity!

All Mia really wants is her relative anonymity back, but after her first ever TV interview she is dealing with more attention than ever. She’s uncomfortable and she often says stupid things – which down to her newfound princess status, are heard by more people than ever. She has to get through the awkward process of growing up under the scrutiny of New York celebrity culture.

Mia’s Best Moments

– When she freaks out and throws away all of the food in their apartment that could potentially be unhealthy to her mother’s developing foetus. Also when she tells her mother not to have ice cubes in her drinks – they potentially contain harmful parasites – for the same reason.

– When the Duchess of York and Catherine Zeta Jones help her adapt her bridesmaid outfit into a Halloween costume so she can go to The Rocky Horror Picture Show with her friends.

– When she accidentally tells the world her mum is pregnant with her algebra teacher’s baby on television.

– Anything involving Mia, Lilly and Lilly’s foot fetishist stalker, Norman.

Michael’s Best Moment

‘… Michael, who ended up standing beside me, waiting for his turn to get into the car, went, ‘What I meant to say before, Mia, was that you look… you look really…’

I blinked up at him in the pink and blue light from the neon Round the Clock sign in the window behind us. It’s amazing, even bathed in pink and blue neon, with fake intestines hanging out of his shirt, Michael still looked totally –

‘You look really nice in that dress,’ he said, all in a rush.’

Michael, you slay me.

Nineties Kid Nostalgia

Lilly’s public access TV show, Lilly Tells It Like It Is.

Obviously it wasn’t normal for any of us to have our own television shows, but there is still something nostalgic about a time before Youtube.

Rereading The Princess Diaries #1

The Princess Diaries were the books of my teens. Mia was my fictional best friend. She was a tall, nerdy worrier fighting a continual battle with her hair. When I was fourteen this was exactly like me. Even now I’m 22, me and Mia are still on the same page*.

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The Princess Diaries #1 sees us introduced to Mia through the journal her mother has given her to work out her anxieties in. Her anxieties are as follows:

  • She’s flat chested.
  • She’s failing algebra.
  • Her mom has just started dating the algebra teacher who’s class she’s failing.
  • Josh Richter doesn’t even know she exists.

And that’s before she even finds out about the whole princess thing. Then on top of that there are princess lessons with her heinous Grandmere, who’s determined to make her life a total misery under the guise of teaching her how not to cause an international incident. And there’s keeping the whole princess thing a secret from her best friend Lilly Moscovitz, who is a pretty passionate anti-royalist and teenaged genius. Lilly and her brother, Michael are both teenaged geniuses, actually.

This book came out in 2000. I remember my mum picking it up and reading the part where Lilly talks about how she would only have sex with a guy if he was wearing at least two condoms (younger readers: don’t do this!!) and being slightly horrified that her nine year old was reading them (though in my defence they were in the bookshelf at my primary school).

I was probably thirteen or fourteen when these books became the great comfort and influence they have been in my life.

One of the biggest takeaways from this book (and the whole series, actually) is the sense that ultimately, a person can deal with most of what is thrown at them. Mia deals with learning that when she grows up she will have to rule over the country of Genovia. She deals with her terrifying Grandmere. She deals with everyone finding out that she’s a princess, and the bodyguard and press scrutiny that come with that.

Don’t get me wrong – the girl is freaking out plenty – but there is never a moment where something happens that she can’t cope with. Even when she feels like she isn’t, she is.

Nostalgia for the Nineties kids

– Dial-up internet is a big presence in this book. Mia is always having to go online and ask Lilly’s brother Michael to go offline so that she can call her. Remember when you couldn’t have the phone and the internet at the same time?

– Britney Spears comes up a few times.  I’d forgotten what a looming presence she was in my childhood. It makes me think of the days before we had Taylor and realise how much better things are now.

*Yes, that is a book pun thank you.

An Announcement

So I’m launching a project: Re-Reading The Princess Diaries. I’ll be posting reviews of each of the books every other Saturday until I reach book eleven.

I’m excited about this.

The Princess Diaries were the books I turned to in my teens whenever life got hard. Mia Thermopolis was an awkward, too-tall weirdo – and so was I! Mia had trouble expressing her feelings – as I did! Meg Cabot’s writing was a source of constant comfort to me.

Honestly these books still make me feel better now.

I mourned them when they ended at book ten, with a now eighteen year old Mia preparing to go to college.

That was 2008.

Now, finally, in 2015, we get to find out what Mia did next.

the princess diaries xi

The Princess Diaries XI came out on July 2nd.

Obviously I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

But before I share my thoughts on the new book, I thought, at 22, it was time to review Mia’s diaries from the beginning.

So I’m launching a project: Re-Reading The Princess Diaries. I’ll be posting reviews of each of the books every other Saturday until I reach book eleven.

I’m excited about this.

Here’s the book trailer for the book XI:

It looks awesome.