Thursday, February 28, 2013
The Princessess of Iowa: a review
FYA Book Club Selection
Candlewick: Copyright 2012, 464 pages
Paige Sheridan has the perfect life. She's pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a night of partying ends in an it-could-have-been-so-much worse crash, everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot is her creative writing class, led by a charismatic new teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this arresting and witty debut, a girl who was once high-school royalty must face a truth that money and status can't fix, and choose between living the privileged life of a princess, or owning up to her mistakes and giving up everything she once held dear.
I don't really know where to begin...so Paige comes back from Paris after being exiled for the summer. Upon her return things are both very much different and very much the same. Her friends seem distant, her boyfriend preoccupied, and her priorities askew, but her mother is her overbearing, critical self. Paige tries to maintain some kind of normal, but when she meets Ethan and Shanti in her creative writing class and discovers the power of the written word from an inspiring teacher, she realizes that the world she had created for herself was forcing her to hide who she maybe one day could be.
The use of free writing as tool to carry the story was an excellent addition. While I didn't truly believe Paige's voice, the technique brought depth to a story that needed depth.
The Not So Awesome
I feel bad that I don't have more awesome to add. The book was well written, but I just could connect with any of the characters. Even Paige herself seemed distant, and I couldn't get over some holes in teh stories. There have been few books where I truly despised certain individuals, but Paige's friend Lacey makes that list. She's going through some rough times. I get that, but I just don't like her and can't forgive her for some of her words and actions.
Not my favorite book. I think Backes is a promising author, but this particular story just didn't resonate with me. There was so much unresolved at the end of the book that I finished frustrated. I can't help thinking that the same story from another perspective would have been an interesting twist. Or maybe multiple perspectives? Back a forth from inside the princesses and outside looking in? Not sure.