The Princess Plot
Chicken House/Scholastic, 2005 378 pgs Grades 5-8
Unexceptional, Jenna, is surprisingly chosen to star in a movie about a princess. She is whisked off to the land of Scandia, where it is revealed that she resembles the real-life princess, Malena. Malena has recently lost her father the King and Jenna is asked by the regent to pose for her to give Melina a break in her grief. Jenna agrees and slowly discovers that she is actually being used as part of a plot to take over the kingdom. Further revelations come to light, including Jenna's heritage, he true story behind the missing king, the political plight of Scandia and the supposedly evil rebels. Jenna comes face-to-face with look-alike princess, Melina and together they uncover the truth and save the day. The plot twists and turns and the point-of-view shifts, allowing us to see various threads of the story, which eventually all come together.
Originally published in Germany, The Princess Plot offers a real-life glimpse into a fairy tale world. We relate with Jenna as she experiences the surprise and delight of being chosen to star in a movie, and then to be asked to be a princess. Who hasn't fantasized about being a real-life princess? Jenna takes the bait and then discovers the realities and responsibilities behind the position. The points of view change and the plot tends to jump around a bit, making the book a challenging read. It moves along rapidly and is never at a loss for adventurous situations. There are mysteries to solve, which are satisfactory concluded. The answers to the mysteries are "gettable" but not too transparent. The book has more depth than it looks and is longer than your typical fiction for this age group. I would recommend it for more advanced readers who like a challenge. For a princess book, it was not "girlie". There was not any romance and the two girls had a boy companion and shared adventures that would appeal to both boys and girls. Unfortunately, even though the cover has a skull on it, it is pink and boys won't read it. A different cover would broaden its audience. Those looking for princess books might be put off by the complex and political plot. Girls looking for stories about ordinary girls turned into princesses would be better served by Meg Cabot and Ellen Levine. For those who enjoy the book, try the sequel: The Princess Trap.