Princess on the Brink by Meg Cabot: B+

From the back cover:
At last, Mia is a junior. An upperclassperson. Free of her responsibilities as student body president. So why is it that everything is going so terribly wrong? What is she doing in Intro to Creative Writing? When she has made it through Algebra and Geometry, why must she be faced with Precalculus? And for the love of all that is Genovian, why has Lilly nominated her for school prez again? All this is nothing compared to the news Michael springs on her, however. On top of all the mathematical strife, her beloved boyfriend is leaving for Japan for a year. Precalc has nothing on preparing for the worst separation ever!

Turns out there is one way she might convince Michael to stay. But will she? Or won’t she? No matter what, Mia seems headed for disaster.

Mia and Michael had to deal with a very interesting issue that I haven’t previously seen addressed in YA fiction: What happens when you find out that someone you’ve assumed shares the same beliefs as you actually doesn’t? Can you be understanding or will you be judgmental?

Neither Michael nor Mia manages to handle this well. Mia freaks when she learns Michael has given the “precious gift” of his virginity to a girl he didn’t love, and Michael fails to understand why this bothers her so much. This results in Mia breaking up with him, even though she doesn’t want to.

Although often stupid or misguided, Mia’s actions and reactions are believable from a sixteen-year-old girl, and I was at least capable of empathizing with her a lot of the time. Michael is finally revealed to have some “typical boy” characteristics, which makes him a lot more realistic. Sex is discussed responsibly and with a variety of viewpoints.

Instead of wrapping up tidily as I expected, things with Michael are unresolved by the novel’s end. I wish Cabot would’ve passed on Mia’s “accidental” smooch of J. P., however, as it just adds unnecessary angst and complication to what is already an important moment in Mia and Michael’s relationship. The resulting fallout with Lilly and Mia’s incredible stupidity in taking J.P. up on what is clearly a date makes for a very irritating ending.

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  1. I do like the fact that Mia and Lilly have had such a huge fight. I don’t like the fact that it was ostensibly over something so incredibly moronic. Mia’s clueless but OH MY GOD that pushed it so far even Wile E Coyote would be plummeting to the ground.

  2. Yeah, I don’t think I’d have been irritated if there were actually a good reason for it.

    The other relationshippy conflicts were well done, I thought. The Mia/Michael break-up arose from legitimate issues. I liked the JP/Lilly break-up too, since I think people have to face that sometimes – you love someone who tries and ultimately fails to love you back.

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