Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Pretender Princess: Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

Thanks to my teen reviewer, Julia Teal, for this, her second, guest blog.

“Tiaras, diamond bracelets. The job perks sure beat free Mountain Dew at Pets Charming.”

These are the first thoughts racing through Desi Bascomb’s mind when a chartreuse-haired woman named Meredith appears in her bubble-filled bathroom, claiming she has magical potential, whatever that is, and offering her a surrogate position at Façade, a firm that subs out talented girls to princesses in major need of reasonably regal doubles while they take some royal R & R.

Filled with visions of palatial balls and royal feasts, Desi can’t help but agree, signing a contract right on the spot and imagining this to be a dream come true. One test run at the Las Vegas Venetian later, and she’s realizing this dream might be more like a noble nightmare! No, it turns out being a princess is a lot harder than it looks when the job description includes crash diets on dates and vegetables, performing traditional tribal dances, and even dabbling in a love triangle.

In this light and humorous parody of the well-worn plot line of Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, Desi’s plight continues as she struggles to switch from handing out fliers while costumed as a groundhog at the local pet store to brunching with the fictional Prince Karl of Fenmark. Thrown into one sticky sub situation after another, she tries to do the best she can, but a series of unfortunate events seem to be forever leaving her on Meredith’s bad side. After all, it’s not her fault she had to stand up to Princess Elsa’s grandmother, or that Princess Ama Yakinomi spotted her when posing as her double. Desi is totally giving the princess gig all she's got.

Watch as this princess pretender tries hard to blend her two worlds together in Lindsey Leavitt’s Princess for Hire (Hyperion, 2010), a girl-empowering fairy tale gone wrong written along the lines of Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries including some of the same laugh-out-loud funny lines, and relatable-to-us-commoners blunders that make us realize that being in the palatial limelight isn’t always a pretty-in-pink fantasy.

Lindsey Leavitt, who admits to having worked as both a substitute teacher and homecoming princess, combines her work resume into a regal romp which will have readers yearning for her promised-soon sequel.

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