First off, the format: it’s a graphic novel contained within a novel. The graphic novel holds the narrative together and weaves an incredible story.
Second, the writing. I loved Cherie Priest’s novel Boneshaker a few years ago, but nothing – NOTHING – prepared me for I Am Princess X. This is the kind of book I shook while yelling, “TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!” It’s an intense, sometimes disturbing, ride that will grab you from the get-go and keep your gut churning until you get to that last page. And then, you’ll want to start it all over again.
The short story: May and Libby meet as fifth graders and bond over their shared creation, Princess X. Dressed in a puffy pink dress with red Converse high tops and wielding a katana, she protects her homeland. As the two friends grow up, they continue Princess X’s adventures in notebooks, sheafs of looseleaf, wherever they can write. And then one day, Libby and her mom are killed when her mom falls asleep at the wheel and drives off a bridge.
Three years later, May is back in town to visit her father, when she sees something no one else should know about. First, there’s only one sticker. But there are more. And it’s definitely Princess X. Cool kids “in the know” have heard of the comic, but no one knows who’s producing it. May is about to find out that everything she thought she knew about Libby’s death is wrong – and she may be putting herself in danger with what she wants to find out.
I can’t say enough good – GREAT – things about this book. The writing grips you, leading you into a sweet story about two friends bonding over their badass heroine, and on a dime, Priest tears your heart out and leads you back to it piece by piece. The graphic novel within the novel is chilling, sometimes even blood-curdling, and will keep you thinking and aching inside.
Check out the I Am Princess X Tumblr and download your own free sticker, check out an excerpt from the book, and just GO BUY IT. Here’s a glimpse of the graphic novel portion, from the Tumblr.
I AM PRINCESS X
Writer: Cherie Priest
Artist: Kali Ciesemier
Publisher: Scholastic/Arthur Levine Books
Now on sale