Take A Peek Book Review: I Am Princess X

“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.

I Am Princess X


(via Goodreads)

Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen; illustrated throughout with comics.

Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X?

When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon—her best friend, Libby, who lives.


My Thoughts:

What a treat! I Am Princess X is a smart, well-written, imaginative odyssey focused on girl power and the bonds of friendship. May and Libby are deeply connected, and their true devotion to one another is what drives the search for answers forward.

Fast-paced, clever, pulse-pounding, and funny, I Am Princess X is a great story of friendship and determination, with plenty of adventure and geeky clue-chasing mixed in. The web comic that becomes a piece of the puzzle is terrific, and I really enjoyed the way the comic provides a map to the secrets of the story.

It’s nice to read a young adult novel where romance, for once, is not a factor at all. There’s lots of tech talk and references to gadgets, devices, screens, and tablets (which makes me wonder if this book will feel dated in 10 years). The plot involves hacking and spyware and questionable internet conduct — but that’s about all that could even possibly raise an eyebrow about inappropriate behavior. Otherwise, it’s practically squeaky clean, so a parent could be comfortable sharing this with mature middle school readers as well as the book’s target teen audience. (I say mature, simply because there is danger and a scary bad guy, with the main characters in serious peril. The bad guy is really creepy and threatening — deadly too.)

Overall, I found I Am Princess X to be fun, memorable and exciting. It’s got a fresh and unusual feel to it, and the narrative-plus-graphics format is very engaging. Check it out!


The details:

Title: I Am Princess X
Author: Cherie Priest
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication date: May 26, 2015
Length: 240 pages
Genre: Young adult fiction
Source: Library

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books About Friendship


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books About Friendship… and it was a surprisingly difficult list to put together! Every time I had an idea about a book to include, I’d realize that it ended up as a love story or a family story. In fact, it was hard to come up with a selection of books that didn’t focus on romance or wasn’t about siblings — but that really just place the emphasis on friendship. But after much torment and scouring of my real and virtual bookshelves, here’s what made my list this week:

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1) Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White: I don’t think there’s a better friend in fiction than Charlotte the spider. And I’m sure Wilbur would agree.

2) The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien: A motley band, to be sure, but from a group of strange companions, the fellowship develops into a deeply devoted band of friends.

3) Code Name Verity: Sigh. Julia and Maddie. Tears. Oh my.

4) The Harry Potter series: This probably belongs up at #1. Why was Harry able to survive and triumph? Because he didn’t have to do it alone. Ron and Hermione are the best friends a young wizard could have, not to mention all the various and sundry other members of the Hogwarts gang and their extended families. (Dobby! Neville! Weasley twins!)

5) Lamb by Christopher Moore: I hope it’s not disrespectful to say that this novel about Jesus and his childhood pal Biff is one of the best buddy books I’ve ever read! Hilariously funny, and surprisingly touching as well.

6) Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See: Just a beautiful, beautiful book about two friends in 19th century China.

7) Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando: This is probably the newest book on my list. I really loved the focus on two strangers getting to know one another via email before becoming college roommates — with all the revelations, secret sharing, and misunderstandings that you’d find in real life. True friendship may not be easy, but it’s worth the work!

8) Doc by Mary Doria Russell: This may seem like an odd choice, but one of my favorites things about this historical novel about Doc Holliday is the portrayal of his friendship with Wyatt Earp.

9) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 8 and beyond): Okay, maybe it’s a bit of a cheat, but I love the comic series that picks ups where the TV series left off — and as with Harry Potter, the secret of Buffy’s success is her gang of friends. Where would Buffy be without the Scoobies?

10) And finally, for a unique look at friendship gone wrong, check out the darkly comic The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler.

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I’m sure I missed some books that will pop into my head in the middle of the night…

What’s on your list this week? Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out our regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday. Happy reading!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!


In praise of the BBF! (Hint: it’s book-related… )

Sure, we may have BFFs. Some of us may have BFs. But do you have a BBF?

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BBF: Best Book Friend.

Snazzy, huh? I thought I was being clever when I came up with it, although I’m sure lots of others have thought of it too…

What’s a BBF?

lincoln quoteCall ’em book soulmates, book buddies, book mates… a BBF is the person who totally *gets* you when it comes to books. The person who recommends a book to you that ends up being your can’t-live-without, favorite book ever. Someone who loves your favorite genres… and gets snobby about the same stuff too! The person who knows better than to ever suggest certain books — you know, the books you’d rather stick hot pokers in your eyes than read. The person who, when you hand them a book and say “read this!”, just takes it and reads it because if you loved it, he/she will love it too.

That special someone who loves books every bit as much as you do, loves to talk about books, and gets all fluttery and fan-girly about just the same stuff that you do!

For me, I’d say I have real-life BBFs and online BBFs… and I love ’em all!

First, there’s my real-life friend who loves most of the same books as I do, rolls her eyes — affectionately — at me when I go off on a random tangent yet again about Outlander, and doesn’t mind too much when I roll my eyes at her book-obsession-ravings. I’m crazier about certain time-travel books *ahem* than she is, and she almost never reads YA. She loves horror, the weirder the better, and is a big fan of short stories — all of which I tolerate, but don’t really go for. Still, our tastes are about 90% in sync, plus we fangirl out over the same TV shows and other geeky loves, and I can always count on her for company at a book signing or the library’s big book sale (especially if I’m providing the ride home).

Then there are my online friends. There are at least two people I know only via an online book group, who have yet to steer me wrong. One recommends simply awesome historical fiction, and always has smart, on-target comments and insights about whatever we’re reading. The other is a well-read librarian who loves all sorts of wonderful genres, and in particular has introduced me to some of my very favorite graphic novels. Basically, whenever either of these two super-smart women praises a book on Goodreads, I automatically click “want to read”… and then hurry to get my hands on a copy.

elephant readFinally, last but not least, are the book bloggers who feel like totally sympatico BBFs. (I love all of y’all, by the way! xoxo) There are plenty of book blogs that I enjoy, and I’m finding more every day. There are some blogs I love to read because the writing is sharp, funny, snarky, or just totally out-there in a way that appeals to my own quirkiness — even if we don’t tend to have them same taste in books. But in the BBF column, there are a handful of bloggers who just pick out the most amazing assortment of books consistently, either loving the books I already love to pieces, or recommending books that sound right up my alley, even if I’ve never heard of the title or the author before — and those are my go-to people whose posts I always read (and who I blame for the sorry state of my TBR piles).

As one of my favorite sayings sums it up:

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Who are your BBFs? And have you told them recently how much you appreciate them?

To all my BBFs out there: Wishing you stacks of good books and plenty of hours in which to read them! With hugs and chocolate, a good reading lamp and a cozy chair, and a super-cute bookmark or two…