Monday, April 5, 2010

Review: Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

Princess For Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

When a well-dressed woman steps out of a bubble and wants to know if you'd like to become a substitute princess, do you
A) run
B) faint
C) say yes?
For Desi Bascomb, who's been longing for some glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C). Desi has a rare ability: with the help of "Royal Rouge," she can temporarily transform into the exact look-alike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?
Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras.... In this winning debut, one girl's dream of glamour transforms into the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.


Princess for Hire was a cute, fun, and original read- perfect for readers of middle grade and young adult. Leavitt created an original plot with a fun main character that kept me glued to the pages. I laughed out loud at times and at other times I was anxiously turning pages, wondering what would happen next. There was the main plot with a few sub plots weaved in between. There was Desi’s work as a princess and then her real life problems. I loved the idea of being a substitute princess. At first I was worried it would have too much of a Disney feel, but Leavitt created a wide variety of princesses that were very different than Snow White or Cinderella. I liked the messages embedded in the plot, how Desi really wanted to make things better for the girls she subbed for.

This was a fun, sweet debut and although it is young adult, it will appeal to younger readers as well. Desi is fourteen, so there isn’t a romance so to speak, but she does have a crush on a local boy and this changes throughout the novel and by the end it’s done a complete 180. Desi was also a character many girls could relate to. She was outspoken, yet didn’t have many friends. She could stand up for herself, but not always to the mean girl in town. Throughout the novel, while Desi was impacting others lives, she was also changing her own for the better.

At first, I wasn’t sure about Desi. She loved the “popular guy” Hayden. Hayden was obviously not the guy for Desi and yet she insisted on liking him. She also desperately wanted to be a part of the popular crowd. Luckily, Desi learns a lot about being herself and the importance of being who you are, that by the end of the book I was satisfied. Other than Desi, the other characters didn’t play very big roles. Her “agent” Meredith was a strong character, that was like an onion. You had to pull back the layers to find out more about her. Desi’s best friend, Kylee, didn’t have a huge role, but I did like her. She almost seemed to know Desi better than Desi knew herself. Desi’s family was kind of in the background. They almost didn’t need to be there. There were quite a few extraneous characters, that will hopefully play a bigger role in the second book.

The whole idea of the agency was fantastic. There were so many little details that mattered a lot, like their mode of transportation- a bubble! Princess Progress Reports, the wild hair colors, Magic Potential… all of these added a lot to the novel. Leavitt has a great writing style that goes right into the head of a fourteen year old. She made Desi an even more believable character. I finished the novel pretty quickly. Not only because it’s short (under 250 pages), but because the plot kept moving at a great pace. In a way that wasn’t rushed, but made me really want to know what was going to happen next. I wasn’t sure how Leavitt would balance the plot because of the two sides- Desi’s real life and her work with the agency. Luckily it worked out well. Although Desi only had three missions it was enough to keep the reader intrigued but it wasn’t overkill. Readers also got a good look at Desi’s personal life. Maybe not as much as I would have liked, but still enough. Princess for Hire was a perfect mix of magic and realism and is an overall solid debut.

All in all, Lindsey Leavitt wrote a great debut novel that will appeal to readers ages 10 and up. With just a hint of romance Princess for Hire will keep readers wanting more in the sequel. I’m excited to read more of Desi’s adventures and see how the loose ends are tied up. I would definitely recommend this to all girls and I know Lindsey Leavitt has definitely gotten herself a fan base with this debut.

Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars

March 16, 2010/Disney Hyperion/239 Pages/Middle Grade & Young Adult Appeal/Book One

Source: Author/Publisher (ARC)
Other books in the series: The Royal Treatment (2011)
Other books by this author: Sean Griswold's Head


  1. This one looks so good! Glad to see you enjoyed it ;)

  2. I love the cover so sweet , I will have to check it out. Thanks for the great review. :)

  3. This book looks great! I've been wanting 2 read ever since i heard about it.

    BTW liking the new rating, it's less complicating :D

  4. This one looks really cute! I'm glad that you liked it! Great review!

  5. I love the old rating, but I like your new one too :)

  6. I think the new rating system is simple. I like simple. I also like the way you rate the cover, I tend to judge books that way sometimes.


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