Author: Cherie Priest
Illustrator: Kali Ciesemier
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: May 26th, 2015
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
GoodReads Summary: 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.
What I Think: Gosh, I love this book. I've been collecting titles of books that would be great to read and discuss with students when it comes to digital citizenship. Princess X is a book I would match with In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang and Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead. I love that the girls in this book write and draw together and come up with stories and then that their comic ends up as a zine. I love that technology is incorporated and embrace and acknowledged as part of their lives. One of the main characters of this book isn't very smart about how he uses his knowledge of technology - it gets in him in trouble and impacts is ability to go to college. I think that's such an important lesson to help kids understand.
This book is probably the easiest book to booktalk. I was able to share it with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and they were all excited and curious about the story. I loved the characters and their friendships and how May's tenacity for uncovering what really happened to her friend. It reminded me of Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Once Was a Time by Leila Sales, and I Was Here by Gayle Forman. Friendship stories always capture my heart and this book definitely did.
As a mentor text, I would look at how Cherie Priest develops the characters in this book and how she uses description and dialogue to bring them to life. Her writing is tight and specific. When writing, it's not easy to focus on what's really and truly important but Cherie does a good job. Invite students to look at her writing and pay attention to how she shows instead of telling and how every scene moves the story forward.
Read Together: Grades 8 - 9
Read Alone: Grades 6 - 12
Read With: In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang, Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, I Was Here by Gayle Forman, Once Was a Time by Leila Sales
Snatch of Text:
"Neither May nor Libby ever quite made any other good friends, because they didn't need any other good friends. They played a lot of video games, read a lot of comics, watched a lot of TV, and ate a lot of junk food. They climbed on the troll statue out in Fremont, taking selfies under the neon artwork of ballroom dancers, rocket ships, and diving ladies in old-fashioned swimming caps. They did each others homework and sat up late with flashlights under the covers, downloading dirty books onto Libby's e-reader and giggling madly until they got caught. They spent their allowances on arm warmers, magazines, and hot chocolate at their favorite local joint, Black Tazza - pretending it was coffee so they could feel like grown-ups." (p. 8-9)
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when something seemed more than a coincidence. Write about a person who has made an impact on your life.
Topics Covered: Family, Friendship, Loyalty, Courage, Determination
I *heart* It: