Forever Princess by Meg Cabot: C+

From the front flap:
It’s Mia’s senior year, and things seem great. She aced her senior project, got accepted to her dream college(s), and has her birthday gala coming up… not to mention prom, graduation, and Genovia’s first-ever elections.

What’s not to love about her life? Well…
* Her senior project? It’s a romance novel she secretly wrote, and no one wants to publish it.
* Prince Phillipe’s campaign in the Genovian elections isn’t going well, thanks to her totally loathsome cousin René, who decided to run against him.
* Her boyfriend, J.P., is so sweet and seemingly perfect. But is he the one?
* And her first love, Michael, is back from Japan… and back in her life.

With Genovia’s and her own future hanging in the balance, Mia’s got some decisions to make. Which college? Which guy? How can she choose? Especially when what she decides might determine not just the next four years, but… forever!

Nearly two years have passed since the events of Princess Mia, and now it’s just a week until graduation. Mia has spent the intervening time working on a steamy romance novel for her senior project, but has lied to her friends, telling them it’s about Genovian olive oil processing. She’s also lied about various other things, as well, including hiding the fact that she got accepted into quite a few prestigious colleges.

I found the first half of the book to be very annoying, as Mia’s constant justifications of why she can’t just come out and tell people things are quite frustrating. She says stuff like, “I course I couldn’t tell Tina the truth—that my senior project is not a history of Genovian olive oil processing but in reality a romance novel, because it has sex scenes, and she’ll wonder how I researched them.” Both K and I were confused as to why this was a problem, since Tina is a big romance novel fan. My theory was that Mia thought Tina would realize she had broken their “let’s lose our virginity on prom night” deal and had already had sex with J.P., thus providing insights for her novel. It turns out, though, that the big mystery of how she researched them is… by reading copious amounts of romance novels. She and J.P. have evidently not gotten beyond first base in two years of dating. (!)

The second half is a bit better, though. Michael returns and J.P. finally shows his true colors. Both Mia and Lilly have grown up, too, so are able to patch things up. Does Mia realize how much she is to blame for all that went wrong, like I’d hoped? Not really, but she does at least have a decent conversation with Michael about how she screwed everything up. Mostly, her failings are attributed to her immaturity at the time rather than to any lingering personality issues, like chronic indecision.

I also like that she’s very responsible about sex and subsequently firm in her convictions that she could say no if she wasn’t ready. I just wish she weren’t prone to declaring “I suck!” when being equally firm and reasonable about the nature of the publishing contract for her romance novel (the excerpts of which are laughably bad, by the way). She’s well within her rights to want the book to be considered on its own merits, but still feels bad for refusing a lucrative offer J.P. wrangles purely on the basis of her celebrity status.

Anyway, the ending is satisfying, with various important conversations finally transpiring and loose ends wrapped up. It even gets a little amusing: my favorite line is, “Hey, quit sniffing me a minute.” Ultimately, however, my primary emotion is relief that I can now go a very long time without reading anything by Meg Cabot.

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  1. But don’t you want to now read her super awesome romance novel? 😛 Meg Cabot hopes you do.

  2. *snerk* I do not. It looks like all proceeds really are being donated to Greenpeace, though, which is kind of nifty.

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