Hello humans! I will forever be grateful to my local library’s eBook service for letting me read hundreds of wonderful books for free without having to leave the comfort of my bed (or sofa or comfy chair or wherever else I happen to be). One such book was Undercover Princess which I first came across at YALC 2017 when I picked up a sampler. I’ll confess I hadn’t heard of Connie Glynn before then, though I have subsequently watched some of her Youtube videos. I think I’m right in saying this is the first ‘Youtuber’ book I have read, at least the first fiction book I’ve read. There’s a lot of different feelings about internet personalities writing books so I’m looking forward to telling you all my thoughts.
When fairy tale obsessed Lottie Pumpkin starts at the infamous Rosewood Hall, she is not expecting to share a room with the Crown Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolf. Due to a series of lies and coincidences, 14-year-old Lottie finds herself pretending to be the princess so that Ellie can live a more normal teenage life.
Lottie is thrust into the real world of royalty – a world filled with secrets, intrigue and betrayal. She must do everything she can to help Ellie keep her secret, but with school, the looming Maradovian ball and the mysterious new boy Jamie, she’ll soon discover that reality doesn’t always have the happily ever after you’d expect…
Find Undercover Princess on Goodreads
This felt like it fell closer to the ‘teen’ end of the Young Adult spectrum, which I don’t say as a criticism. Fourteen-year olds need books like this and I most certainly would have loved a book like this when I was that age. As an adult reading it I can appreciate that this book wasn’t written for me and I’m going to attempt not to factor in my own age when reviewing (these books are written for teens so I can’t criticise them for not being mature enough for me when I’m not the intended audience!).
This book did remind me of the kinds of books and films I loved to read when I was younger. There’s a fancy private school, cliques of nice (and not-so-nice) girls, handsome princes and comical misunderstandings. I was reminded of the first time I read The Princess Diaries and books like that. This is a very different kind of story, but the tone is similar and it’s something that awakens a nostalgia in me.
I thought the characters were interesting. Lottie is of course bumbling and plain but also beautiful and intriguing in that wonderfully clichéd way that I love (and hate but mostly love). I adore an unlikely friendship between a ‘girly-girl’ and a more ‘alternative’ kind of teen. This book leans into those clichés a little heavily at times but in the end, it does defy the idea of compartmentalising people into one box or another.
I thought that the plot managed to be remarkable believable for a concept that was ultimately quite contrived. It is obviously not believable that your main character will happen to meet a princess and things will just so happen to align that she is mistaken for her. We know these things don’t happen in real life, but if you are willing to suspend belief for just a minute it’s quite a heart-warming story. Sort of like a wonderfully cheesy rom com where you know nothing terribly bad could happen to the characters.
My main problem with this book was the writing style. You can tell Glynn is a little bit new to this, there are some parts of the book that read quite clunkily and some dialogue that feels very stilted. It might be because I’m so used to reading quite heavily descriptive fantasy writing, but I wanted this to be tightened up a little and elevated fractionally.
I think this is a strong start to a series that I can see a lot of younger teens reading. I think this will be one of those books that rarely actually gets to be on the shelf at the library (once the paperback is out at least!). I am glad I read it and I’ll be keeping an eye on the rest of the Rosewood Chronicles for sure!
My rating: 3/5 stars
All opinions are my own.
What say you? What are your opinions on Youtubers (and Booktubers) writing and publishing books? Let me know in the comments below!