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 look-alike off 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 your sure she would want you to change his mind?
First of all, I'm not quite sure how this is a YA book and not an MG book. I got it out of the YA section in my library and until I was reading it, I didn't realize that the main character was going to be 13. Normally I don't read real-life-esque MG books because I just find it a bit odd. This one wasn't too bad, though.
There were quite a few funny and hart-warming moments, but overall, I wasn't that impressed. For much of the book, I found Desi to be overly-dramatic and self-centered. She was absolutely obsessive about her crush but not at all in an understandable way. The absurdness of her crush had me wanting to punch her in the face a few times. I know a crush isn't really enough to go off of for a review, though.
I enjoyed the new spin on princesses. The lives weren't too glamorous (though I'm hoping for some glamour in the next!) and you got to see the nitty-gritty of the real princess's lives instead silly little surface problems we normal see when it comes to royalty.
In all, though, while this book wasn't bad, it wasn't remarkable either. The fist-pumping "You go, girl!" moments didn't outshine Desi's annoying obsession and inability to look past herself (even when helping others), but it was good enough to pick up the next one and continue in the story.
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Publish Date: March 2010
* = Not a final count