June 20, 2017 / Bethany Lemmon
I Am Princess X is a gripping YA realistic fiction by author Cherie Preist. The novel is set in modern-day Seattle, Washington and follows the life of May Harper, a writer, and her best friend Libby Deaton, an artist. The girls meet on the fifth-grade grade playground — nothing but some chalk and each other as entertainment.
So, they create Princess X. This Princess is a warrior who walks with red Chucks and a purple katana sword, fighting off the monsters and ghosts of the kingdom of Silverdale from her haunted house on a hill.
But Libby and May don’t leave Princess X on the blacktop. They continue to write stories and draw comics detailing all of her adventures…. until one night Libby is the victim of a tragic accident, and she dies, taking Princess X with her.
Three years later, May is sixteen and friendless when she wanders the streets of Seattle — and sees Princess X. A small sticker in a run-down corner window. Then, she begins to see her everywhere in the city.
May is determined that this can only mean one thing: Libby is alive. And she is going to find her.
I Am Princess X had me hooked from beginning to end. I enjoyed Preist’s writing style and how it meshed with the illustrated portions, which I thought drove the plot nicely.
The book’s elements of mystery, action, and even hints of dark fantasy can make it tough to categorize, but gives it a wide appeal. But with that said, the novel does stay true to its realistic nature, which is another thing I admired. I find most of the YA realistic fiction I read features drama and school life, which is not always appealing. I Am Princess X does things a little differently. I appreciated the real life aspects and occasional pop culture references because they weren’t overdone, just small details that added to the characters and the story.
Overall, a great read — you wouldn’t know that this is Priest’s first YA. I would definitely recommend it for readers thirteen and older (there are darker elements included throughout the novel.) I am looking forward to reading more of her work in the future and adding I Am Princess X to my shelf.