The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1) by Meg Cabot
Librarything tags: YA, Romance, Movie Inspiration
Fun, light, fast easy read. It's well done for what it tries to do, which is very slightly more than the movie. The feel is very similar, just with more fun details and a slightly more idiosyncratic style (as far as I remember -- it's been quite a while since I've seen it). Some plot points were changed in the movie, some of them to make it more Disney-esque. For example, her parents never married. And her father doesn't die (or at least he hasn't yet, maybe later in the series), he just finds out he's sterile, which prompts telling Mia she's a princess. Before, he just planned to have more children, so the bastard child didn't need to be told (although it would have been a good idea, for the sake of honest relationships). Her grandmother seems evil, although she may improve later. Even when she does things that get her on Mia's good side, thus far they're things that aren't good for Mia, things her parents were opposed to.
Mia herself is probably the biggest reason I didn't like The Princess Diaries more. She's fun to read about, but she isn't half as cool as Bella in Twilight. She's very, very, very much a teen. I might enjoy this if I were a teen, or if I'd ever been a typical teen. As it is, I find myself comparing her to the children in E. Nesbit's books. She seems younger. She's also very left-wing. That's not so bad, by itself. I have friends and sisters much more liberal than I am, and it doesn't make me love them any less. It's just... the combination with the extreme youthfulness... ai. For example, at one point she's explaining why she doesn't go to church, and says something about a God who allows the destruction of the rain forests. Um. I can understand being against rain forest destruction. But that's the worst thing you can think of?! What about the death squads in Brazil, killing the street children? What about the young girls I-forget-where who are kidnapped and forced into prostitution? What about the child soldiers also-I forget-where? Or, or, or...?! But she's a teenager, and rather likeable overall. So mostly I just smile indulgently and keep reading.