From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot
"Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison is a completely average twelve-year-old: average height, average weight, average brown hair of average length, average brown skin and average hazel eyes. The only things about her that aren't average are her name (too long and princess themed), her ability to draw animals (useful for her future career as a wildlife illustrator), and the fact that she is a half-orphan who has never met her father and is forced to live with her aunt and uncle (who treat her almost like their own kids, so she doesn't want to complain).
Then one completely average day, everything goes wrong: the most popular girl in school, Annabelle Jenkins, threatens to beat her up, the principal gives her a demerit, and she's knocked down at the bus stop . . .
Until a limo containing Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia pulls up to invite her to New York to finally meet her father, who promptly invites her to come live with him, Mia, Grandmère and her two fabulous poodles . . . .
Maybe Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison isn't so average after all!"- summary from Amazon
I absolutely loved this new middle-grade book from Meg Cabot, which is her second middle-grade series and first spin-off/companion book. It fits in perfectly with the Princess Diaries style and humor, and it's so great to see a new perspective on Mia and her family. It also provides a new heroine to root for, and an interesting parallel and deeper insight into what happens in Royal Wedding (the 11th Princess Diaries book and first adult book for the series, not counting Mia's novel Ransom My Heart).
Olivia Grace is a fun character, though because of her living situation, her confidence and self-esteem are a bit lacking. Her guardians treat her poorly and are pretty horrible people. Her school life isn't much better, though she does have a good friend on her side, which is nice to see. The book is a breezy, fun read and I pretty much zoomed through it because I could not put it down (and then immediately had the desire to re-read the parts of Royal Wedding that dealt with that timeline). What makes it even more fun is the illustrations from Cabot, which are the first she's ever done for a book; they add a great layer to the book and are used as an endearing character trait for Olivia.
Overall, a fantastic debut to a new middle-grade series, and I'm excited to see where things go from here. Plus, it'll be nice to have this as a way of checking in occasionally on Mia, Michael, Grandmere and everyone else. The book will be released May 19!
Don't forget I'm running a contest on this post for a hardcover of this book and a tiara!!
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.