The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1) – Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1) – Meg CabotTitle: The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1) by Meg Cabot
Publishing Info: September 19, 2000 by HarperCollins
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 1, 2014
Related Posts: Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Heather Wells #4), The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells #5)

    She's just a New York City girl living with her artist mom...
    News Flash: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that's why a limo meets her at the airport!)
    Downer: Dad can't have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.)
    Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material.
    Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne.
    Well, her father can lecture her until he's royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty--no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what's a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?


I finally read Meg Cabot YA! YAYYYY! I actually fell in love with Meg when I started borrowing the Heather Wells series from my sister and gobbled up all of her adult books — this was before I had even given YA a second glance — so it took me a while to finally get around to it. Of course I really enjoyed The Princess Diaries movie, but I knew I had to read the books and wow. I knew that the movie and the book were different, but they are VERY different indeed! That was a nice thing for me because sometimes it’s hard to read a book if I know the plot too well from the movie/TV show (like when I read Darkly Dreaming Dexter and was bored because the show was so much more captivating) so it was really nice to have a really different story line than the movie!

For those of you who haven’t read the books and have only seen the movie, here are some of the BIG differences really quickly:

  • Mia’s dad is a BIG part of the books as opposed to the movie where they’ve — erm — killed him off
  • Her grandmother is not NEARLY as nice and as lovely as Julie Andrews. She’s a tough old broad but she’s also not created to be a monster either, which is nice.
  • The book is in NEW YORK CITY, not San Francisco. Big difference there!
  • Michael Moscovitz is more of a nerdy type but described as physically hunky (or at least moreso than the actor who portrayed him. Sorry, Robert Schwartzman) and Mia and Michael have a way more laid-back relationship and more personal already than they do in the movie.
  • Cultural Diversity Dance vs beach parties
  • No new cars, no foot pop, no fear of public speaking, no big ball at the end (I’m guessing that may be later books?), Mia is a vegetarian
  • Lily’s show, Mia’s mom dating a teacher, and the super sweet loft all still exist

Okay, that wasn’t really quick at all, but you can see how different the book is already from the movie! I adored the movie adaptation, but it’s clear that I really need to read this series seeing as how the movie is not an accurate portrayal of the books (not like that’s the main reason but you know what I mean).

So how about I actually talk about the book? Well, I really enjoyed Mia’s character. I like that the book starts off with her as a freshman in high school because it gives the series so much room to grow, however, sometimes her voice felt a bit young. I wonder if that’s because I’m used to Meg’s adult books which incorporate the same kind of humor but obviously this is in a more adolescent way so it wasn’t quite as appealing to me. She was just a riot, though, and I was probably a lot like her as a teenager, personality-wise.

I really enjoyed Mia’s reactions to everything. It all felt very real and she handled it like the average teenager would, I think! She can’t handle the details of her parents romantic lives (who can, really) and she doesn’t even want to think about dealing with princess-type things because she’s already unpopular and doesn’t want to become a social outcast. Meanwhile, she still has to worry about grades and her current crush.

The book was a lot of fun, but I didn’t quite fall in love with it. I’m not sure if that was because I had expectations — whether from the movie or my experience with Meg’s adult books — but it was adorable and I definitely want to read the rest of the series! I look forward to watching Mia’s character grow and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for her!


I listened to the audio for this and it was narrated by Anne Hathaway, so that was a cool movie connection! I actually don’t know if the audio was recorded first or the movie was produced first, but either way, so much fun to have the same voice for Mia! Anne does a great job with the character too. She’s a great voice performer as well as actor so her tone, inflection, pauses… everything was spot on as I would have pictured Mia saying them!


“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!



Mia // Character Obsessions: Vegetarianism, avoiding princess lessons, her friends, Josh.
Book Mia is actually pretty different than Movie Mia and it’s hard to say which I liked more! I feel like Mia in the books is a lot more opinionated and she’s not portrayed to be as… well… what’s the best way to put this? Loserish. Movie Mia is a lot more “invisible”, actively picked on, and physically awkward. Sure, she still has a lot of those same qualities in the book, but it’s not as played out and I think she has a better time fitting in even though she has no desire to (and the popular kids don’t really have a desire to include her but she doesn’t seem as awkward).
Michael // Character Obsessions: Math, school, computers, music.
I know how much my good friend Tee from YA Crush loves Michael Moscovitz from the books so I was so excited to really get to know him better! He’s definitely different from Movie Michael too. Much more school-oriented, helps Mia with her Algebra (which, I forgot to mention, she is failing miserably), and is a lot more… personable. I definitely started to crush on him and helloooo, it’s like the whole good-friend-turned-boyfriend thing. You KNOW I’m a sucker for that.


Kept Me Hooked On: Meg Cabot. It was SO good to finally get into her YA books. I sort of did this backwards, reading her adult books when I was younger and YA when I was older, but hey. It’s never too late!
Left Me Wanting More: Maturity. I know Mia’s only fourteen in this book and maybe it’s just that I AM already familiar with Meg’s adult books, but I think I wanted a bit more of a mature voice. Not a lot. Just a bit.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

It was so much fun to actually read THE PRINCESS DIARIES for the first time! Definitely continuing on with the series and the audio was a lot of fun with Anne Hathaway narrating too!


(Click the cover to see my review!)

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Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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7 thoughts on “The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1) – Meg Cabot

  1. Candice @ True Story Living

    Yay! I’m glad you finally got around to reading this one (or listening rather). I think this is a series that you have to read multiple books to fall in love with it. And while Mia is young, I think she’s like 14 in the first one, it’s so interesting seeing her grow and her voice change. I really appreciated the changes they made for the movie, but felt like this was such a better experience for me! Not to be spoilery, but the movies do come up in the books and it’s HILARIOUS. I hope you’ll continue the series! 🙂

  2. Kay

    I adore the Princess Diaries books. I own them all from when I was younger. They are too cute. The movie is so different. I remember watching it and thinking the movie was cute but not really like the book. (I was the most upset about Michael) He is awesome in the book and in the movie just not quite right. I hope you enjoy them all! They are fun and easy reads. Maybe I should do a re-read at some point since Meg Cabot is coming out with a new one! I love Meg Cabot, her young adult and adult stuff.

  3. Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books)

    I read this about a year or so ago and also felt like the voice was a little young for me. I liked the Michael/Mia relationship so much in the books… even better than the movies where it was a little ehhh. I decided I wouldn’t continue on with the series bc of how young it felt to me, but I still really liked the book and was glad I read it. If you read more books and they seem to get more mature, let me know 🙂

  4. Annie

    I didn’t know Anne Hathaway narrated the audiobook! If she narrates all the books, then I’d definitely want to continue! I read this book a few months ago just because I wanted to read the source material for one of my favourite movies and I was a little disappointed by it just because it was so different from the movie and I loved the movie. I think if I had read the book when I was like 8 and before I saw the movie, I would have liked it a lot more.

  5. Anne @ booksbakingandblogging

    This was such a fun review to read! I read The Princess Diaries a long time ago, and I can’t really remember if I’ve read the entire series or not. I don’t think so… So this would definitely be a good moment to read these books again. I loved the first one, and the film is really wonderful as well. 🙂

  6. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    Awww, I’m glad you read a Meg Cabot YA! I do agree, that these books feel a bit young – like they are aimed at a younger crowd. Perhaps even junior high? But I still really enjoyed it.

    I’ve read so much Meg Cabot books. I just adore her. You should read Teen Idol and All American Girl. I loved those, too. I listened to Teen Idol which was a great decision!

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