Hello nerdlings and happy Monday! Today I am here to do two mini reviews. Both of these books are a) by the same author and b) adult continuations of said author’s very popular MG/YA series. Since I had some similar feelings I thought I’d do em’ together in one review. OK? Ok!
For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity: living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia’s gorgeous longtime boyfriend, Michael, managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course, Mia didn’t need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal “oui.”
But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: her grandmother has leaked “fake” wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia’s father from the throne, all because of of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a stomach. Can Mia prove to everyone–especially herself–that she’s not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?
Royal Wedding is a continuation of Cabot’s middle grade series “The Princess Diaries.” I was obsessed with these books as a middle schooler but admit that I stopped reading the series as I became a high schooler and they were continuing to come out with the next installment. As such I have never read the last 4 ish books? Not including novellas. But I loved the series so much that I wanted to give this one a try.
What I Liked
– I liked the format of the story. I’ve always loved a story told through epistolary. I’m pretty sure this exact series is part of the reason I started journaling so avidly in 6th grade. I wanted a place to put down my thoughts just like Mia. And I enjoyed seeing her use her journal to work out her anxiety and control issues.
– I enjoyed seeing familiar faces. There is something to be said about coming back to the characters that surrounded you during growing up. I have always loved Lily and her attitude and had a major crush on Micheal. I mean we all know I have a penchent for geeky/weird/awkward boys and this character my friends is probably in the first ten geeks I ever saw and thought, “Oooh, I’d totally kiss him.”
– We’re introduced to a new character who I enjoyed seeing interact with Mia. I can’t give away details but her character sort of mirrors Mia has a teen, which was fun to see.
What I Didn’t Like
– Honestly the whole thing read like a YA novel trying to be an adult novel. What I mean by that is there was discussion of adult happenings like job stress, sex, pressure to start get married and start a family. But most of the dialogue and Mia’s actions were what a teen would do. I understand that in a journal people tend to just “brain dump” and can sometimes come off younger. But this was her conversations and the things she did. Mia wouldn’t think before she acted. She wouldn’t stand up to her grandmere. Her actions seemed to be less about doing what is right and more about doing what she wanted for her own emotional comfort. And for a teen/ young adult this is typical behavior. Been there. But an adult should have had more self awareness and the ability to stop and think about how her actions were going to effect her life in the long run. It really bothered me to seem like we were taking a step backward.
– I didn’t like the ending. It seemed very rushed. And as such, Cabot took every typical ending for the average series adult continuation and just crammed them all together: proposal, job upgrade, pregnant with twins, and a secret hidden half sister. And all of this unfolded in the last half of the book. And suddenly it was like boom boom boom. Her parents are suddenly back together? Really?!?! And she was so happy about it. It was like Cabot picked a bunch of possible endings and mashed them together as if she were making a stew. I didn’t care for it.
You can take the boy out of the darkness. But you can’t take the darkness out of the boy.
All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight.
What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you?
If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass.
From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?
Get ready because I might get ranty. This is the adult continuation of Cabot’s Mediator series. Which I must say that I was obsessed with in high school. Like I devoured this series. Suze Simon is bad ass. And she kicks ass in some great boots.
What I Liked
– Suze was the same old Suze. She was sassy, rebellious, and yet compassionate towards those she cared about. Her humor is so like mine that I laughed quite a bit. She has always been one of my favorite female characters. And I was just so excited to see her in action again.
– The ghost plot line was actually thought out and pretty interesting. I liked seeing Suze learn from Lucia and grow as a mediator. I was glad this part of the story didn’t drag.
– There was real world conversations about student loan debt, the political state of the world, social media, and the hardships that come with finding a job right out of college. I could relate to what was going on so well and really felt “in the moment.”
– We find a new generation of mediators. That was really cool to me. To see characters so young that could talk to ghosts and didn’t even realize what they were doing was something no just anybody could do. These children were playing with their “invisible friend. ” Yet they were empathetic and kind. They were probably exactly what Lucia (the ghost) needed in order to calm down.
What I Didn’t Like
– Once again, Cabot’s characters acted like a teen rather than an adult. While Suze’s cussing didn’t bother me in the least (in fact her friends could back off about making her pay the “Cuss Jar”) but Suze hiding stuff from Jesse and letting herself get blackmailed was just SOO High School. I thought we were past that. It wasn’t as bad as Royal Wedding but still very noticeable.
And the problematic stuff begins…
– Let’s start with Paul. Paul is brought back (ew gross). He talks to Suze in the most degrading and disgusting way. Then he blackmails her into not just dating him but tells her she has to do sexual things with him in order to save Suze’s fiance Jesse’s life. Now I don’t know about you, but if an ex was blackmailing me to have sex with him I wouldn’t play along, even if I didn’t intend to go through with it. I would shut this thing down. I was so creeped out and just bothered by all of her conversations with Paul. Its one thing to not grow up. It’s another thing to become a creeper sleaze bag. No Beuno.
– Jesse. I hated him in this book. I don’t get it because as a teen I thought he was SOO dreamy. I mean I remember literally swooning over him. And yet I wanted to punch his lights out this entire novel. I get that he is supposed to be “old school” and “a good guy” because technically he is from the 1800’s. But ordering Suze around and not asking what she wanted grated on my nerves. Suze would tell him what she wanted, like to stay in her own apartment. He would decide it wasn’t safe and make her go to her brother’s house anyway. She would tell him her plan to help mediate the ghost she is currently dealing with. Jesse would decide it was too dangerous and forbid her to go. Now granted Suze would just do what she wanted anyway most of the time. But seriously. That isn’t macho man behavior. It’s alpha male douche behavior. Mediating is her JOB Jesse. Its her LIFE! You can’t just decide she shouldn’t talk to ghosts anymore. This is her decision and her life. I didn’t understand why she put up with it. Just tell him to back the junk off. Was he always like this and I just didn’t notice? I don’t even know.
Would I recommend either of these books? If you really loved them as a child then I would say try them out. But know going into them that they won’t be fantastic. They will just tie up all the loose ends into a fancy bow. The choice is up to you.
I hope you guys are having a great day! Have you read either of the series? Let me know in the comments down below! TTFN.