Monday, October 5, 2015

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess

It’s so fun to spend an afternoon with a humorous, dreams-come-true kind of story. I was happy to find that this story included illustrations -- and dogs! I read it as an e-book from my local library.

Summary from Amazon:

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!

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess was written by Meg Cabot and published by Feiwel and Friends in 2015.

My Take:

This is a fun read for anyone who enjoyed the Princess Diaries movies or who likes reading stories where a character has to abruptly change their lifestyle. I was pleased to find that Olivia was biracial and that her skin color was depicted appropriately on the book cover. It was a little disappointing when the story opened with a typical “mean girl” bullying-for-no-apparent-reason scene, but Olivia's character was quite engaging and funny. I really wanted to find out how Olivia would solve her dilemma when she found out about her personal history.  I can imagine this story being popular with girls who have grown up reading princess stories.

I wasn’t surprised to discover that one of Meg Cabot’s tips for writers (see below) is to listen to conversations because the dialogue in this book was very age-appropriate. I’d also study this book as an example to learn more about creating a character with lots of personality and a strong voice.

Opening Line:

“Middle school has not been working out the way I hoped it would.”


“Families can be made up of all different kinds of people, many of whom aren’t related at all. Sometimes they aren’t even the same species.”

“But in real life, princesses don’t have magical powers or ray guns. All they have are their brains (and bodyguards and limousines, of course), which they’re supposed to use to help make the world a better place.”

“I guess there’s more you can inherit from your family than just eye color and a talent for drawing. You can also inherit thrones, and a liking for smoked salmon.”

Other Info:

Meg Cabot is a bestselling author of close to 80 books for both adults and tweens/teens, including the Princess Diaries series. She lives in Key West, Florida with her husband and various cats.

One piece of advice she has for writers: “In order to write believable dialogue, you need to listen to the conversations of the people around you—then try to imitate them! So my advice is always to try to keeping quiet, listen only, and let other people to do the talking for a change.”

Find more recommendations for middle grade books on Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!


  1. This sounds like a fun book that my niece might like. Thanks for spotlighting it.

  2. I got a big kick out of The Princess Diaries. Glad to hear Meg Cabot's including more diversity in her books. It's a diverse world.


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