Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Review: Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

Title: Princess for Hire

Author: Lindsey Leavitt

Pages: 256

Received from: Around the World Tours


When a flawlessly dressed woman steps out of an iridescent bubble and wants to know, like, now if you’d like to become a substitute princess, do you

a) run
b) faint
c) say Yes!

For Desi Bascomb, who’s been longing for a bit of glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C–that is, once she can stop pinching herself. As her new agent Meredith explains, Desi has a rare magical ability: when she applies the ancient Egyptian formula “Royal Rouge,” she can transform temporarily into the exact lookalike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a heinous crash diet? Or when the tribal villagers gather to watch you perform a ceremonial dance you don’t know? Or when a princess’s conflicted sweetheart shows up to break things off–and you know she would want you to change his mind?

In this hilarious, winning debut, one girl’s dream of glamour transforms into something bigger: the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.

I started Princess for Hire with the lowest possible expectations. I prepared myself for irrelevent IM speak, stupid plot devices, shallow and cartoonish characters, wackiness of the most irritating degree. I expected this review to be a Big Bucket of Snark. I almost wanted to hate it. But I didn't. I really, shockingly didn't.

Every-girl Desi lives in obscurity in her Idaho town, tormented by her former best friend and doomed to a life of hopelessly pining over the School Hottie, Hayden. But one day, holy shit! she's taking a bath! and a lady! comes! out! of! a! bubble! She informs Desi that she is brimming with Magic Potential (surprisingly, that is what they actually call it. Tongue-in-cheek? I like to think), a rare trait that the modern world has all but flushed out of all living things. She is thereby recruited as a subsitute princess (otherwise known as "sarogate") for an agency that rents girls out to the world's royalty when one heiress or another decides to take a break from the regal life. Desi couldn't be happier--finally, the chance to! be! special!

She soon discovers, however, that life as a royal isn't all glamour. Important Life Lessons ensue.

As my little prelude shows, I was surprised how much I didn't not like this book. Color me shallow, but pink covers with the word 'Princess' in the title always strike me as very...well, fluffy. And if theres one thing I loathe, it is fluff. But Leavitt handles this particular fluff with a shocking amount of wit and likeable characters that brings me back to my Meg Cabot days. Desi is one of those rare chick-lit protagonist that comes off as incredibaly down-to-earth, without an ounce of the girliness the cover would imply. I haven't read much chick-lit in my day, but I'm going to assume this is a rare trait and therefore should be admired as something sent from the gods. Feel free to correct me.

In all seriousness, the plot is just a bit too Disney for me. And, upon Wikipedia-ing it, I've discovered there has been, in fact, a Disney vehicle involving princesses and the like and--oh look!--the book is released under Disney's publishing label. So, I'm guessing we can expect a new movie involving a young starlett in the near future?

And, obviously, what would a Disney-endorsed product be without a lesson? In this case, its something along the lines of "not everything is as it seems," or perhaps "be grateful for what you have." Or maybe, "treat others as you would like to be treated". Whichever, they are all Serious Buisness.

Princess for Hire is obviously meant for a younger audience (I like to call them the Hannah Montana generation). It's cute, with a interesting main character who has an admirable taste in movies (Aubrey Hepburn and the like). If your looking for something to take you back into The Day when everything was simple and the clouds were made of cotton candy, then Princess for Hire is definetly for you. And, despite the general predictablility, it didn't suck.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Also: again, very reminiscent of Ms. Meg Cabot.


April said...

Ahahahaha, big bucket of snark!

Ya know, I automatically react the same way when I see covers like this, and well I do enjoy these kinds of books when I'm in the mood for predictability.

Awesome review!

Joanna said...

I gave you a blog award. Check out my blog to see and then pass it on!

brizmus said...

Yay that you didn't hate it! I've been really wanting to read it! And yay that it's reminiscent of Meg Cabot! I love her!

Lindsey Leavitt said...

Honestly, this is one of my favorite reviews yet. Glad you didn't think it sucked :)

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