Friday, August 7, 2015

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

I Am Princess X
by Cherie Priest
illustrated by Kali Ciesemier

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 26, 2015 by Arthur A. Levine Books (First edition)
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Mystery
Awards: None

MLA: Priest, Cherie. I Am Princess X. New York: Arthur A. Levine, 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0545620857. Hardcover, $18.99.

Find it in your local library!

May Harper knows the facts: her best friend, Libby Deaton, died in a car accident that also killed Libby’s mother when the girls were thirteen years old. No matter how vivid May’s dreams that Libby survived, she attended Libby’s funeral. She visited Libby’s grave. And when her parents divorce, May moves with her mother from Seattle to Atlanta, returning only to visit her dad during the lonely Seattle summers she is forced to spend without her best friend.

Libby and May created Princess X, a ball-gown clad heroine in red Chuck Taylors brandishing her purple katana with great skill, on the first day of their friendship in fifth grade – May wrote, Libby drew. When Libby died, the veritable library of Princess X’s adventures the girls created over the years of their friendship disappeared. So when 16-year-old May spots a sticker of Princess X’s likeness on the window of an abandoned Seattle building, she’s shocked, to say the least. There are explanations, certainly – maybe someone found their drawings in the trash or in a thrift store somewhere in the city. Maybe someone from school continued their story. Maybe it’s all just a weird coincidence. Or maybe Libby’s still alive.

With a little digging, May discovers that Princess X stars in her own web comic, and the beginning of her story is eerily similar to Libby’s. Except Princess X didn’t drown when her mother’s car landed in Salmon Bay – she was saved and then kidnapped by the mysterious Needle Man as the savior, and then replacement, for his lost daughter. Princess X has since escaped, and she’s on the run for her life.

May enlists Trick, a hacker prodigy who she hires and then intrigues into helping her, and the pair goes forth into the seedier side of Seattle – and the darker corners of the Internet – to find out who’s behind the Princess X comic. The dangerous secrets they eventually uncover could mean the difference between life and death for May, Trick, and the people they care about the most.


One of the coolest parts of I Am Princess X is the web comic itself. Illustrator Kali Ciesemier skillfully creates the purple-tinged Princess X comic depicted throughout May and Trick’s story, to great effect. I also loved that this book is about friendship above all else. You won’t find any romance in I Am Princess X, and you won’t want to, either. Trick and May have a clever, entertaining rapport as their teamwork evolves into friendship, but I Am Princess X resists YA conventions and leaves it at that. (Hopefully that’s not too much of a spoiler.) Ultimately, Priest took a fresh and exciting approach to the mystery genre, creating well-developed and likable characters (especially May, who is confident, capable, and whip-smart, trusting her instincts and refusing to give up even when she’s afraid). Highly recommended for teens 13 and up, especially fans of mysteries and strong female protagonists. (And guys, don’t be put off by the cover – you’ll love it too!)

Sooo, I decided to finally try my hand at making a Polyvore set after many moons of lurking around on the site looking for fun fashion. I Am Princess X is a great place to start because I am impatiently awaiting the arrival of a very similar Princess X get-up to cosplay at two upcoming conventions that the hubs and I are attending. (Of course, there will be photographic evidence when this happens.) Here's a visual how-to for cosplaying Princess X:

I Am Princess X

I Am Princess X by abkiel

I couldn't find a book trailer for this one, BUT the I Am Princess X website is pretty cool. You can download printable stickers like the ones May found pasted all over Seattle and stick 'em all over your hometown too. Introduce some mystery into the world. :-)

Finally, I found an awesome webcomic called Princess Princess by StrangelyKatie that you should definitely check out if you liked I Am Princess X. It's a beautifully illustrated short comic series about two brave princesses, Amira and Sadie, who don't need any Prince Charmings to save them or make their fairy tale endings come true. All 44 pages of Amira and Sadie's story are available online, and the author has other web comics and illustrations posted there, too.

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