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.
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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
I AM PRINCESS X was one of my most anticipated books of 2015, but the entire time while I was reading, I felt like I was going in circles. PX isn’t very long to begin with; when the fact that the whole story could have been over in anywhere from fifty to one hundred pages is taken into account, it begs the question of what the heck is the rest of the stuff in the story?
Filler. That’s the real answer.
There were so many things that had so much potential within this story. Firstly, the comics.
I am all for comics, cartoons, manga, whatever. I love it, and when I heard that this story had parts of the actual Princess X webcomic within it, I was stoked. Graphic novel/story? Count me in.
If you’re reading this book because of the web-comic aspect of it, I would skip this book. The web-comic isn’t very well conceived or executed. The whole graphic novel aspect of it feels like a joke. The only purpose it serves is to build on the already-solid text-only part of the book. Instead, I would refer over to my graphic novels/comics/cartoons category.
Sticking with PX, the second thing that I thought had a ton of potential but fell short was the characters. There’s something about mysteries where one of the characters apparently mysteriously dies but then a whole bunch of signs show up saying that he or she isn’t dead. This is one of them; another example in YA is The Third Twin by C.J. Omolomu.
My problem with these kinds of mysteries is that I know what the ending is, and I’m pretty sure that most people would know what the ending is. There were so many clichés to this plot that I caught onto everything before it happened. There wasn’t any shock factor. For people who read a lot of mysteries or just a lot of books in general, I would say that this story won’t hold a whole lot of “whoa, I never saw that coming.”
Which leads to the third thing that had a lot of potential: writing. Well, writing and characters, but mainly writing.
There was so much that could’ve been done with the characters, premise and writing style that Priest laid down. I think that if this book had been marketed towards and available to younger audiences, then I could’ve understood PX a lot better. The writing, character development and characters themselves feel much more middle-grade lit than young-adult lit. Not only do the characters read like little kids at times, they also develop like little kids.
Overall, this is the type of story that I would recommend to younger audiences, maybe mature middle-grade readers. It’s in a weird sort of genre, and for kids who haven’t been exposed to the kind of plot events in this story, I think it would be a great read. However, for the majority of YA readers, I think there are better stories that address the same kind of plot. 1.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 240