Part-Time Princesses by Monica Gallagher
I’m always in the market for a new graphic novel, so when I was browsing at my local library Monica Gallagher’s Part-Time Princesses jumped out at me. I was intrigued. Look, I am a proud feminist and all, but I love pink, and I unapologetically enjoy me some Disney Princesses. I like Cinderella, because she’s plucky and kind and resourceful. I love Belle, because she’s bookish and ambitious. And I definitely adore Mulan, because she’s loyal and brave and willing to stand for family honor, even though she’s definitely *not* a man. I can get behind that. AND, I’m especially a fan of Anna and Elsa, because I am all about being yourself and keeping your sisters the priority. [The Chancellor knows not to make fun of me when I choke up towards the ending. I have two sisters, and I will cut a bitch for them (and my brother, even though there aren’t brothers in Frozen] What I’m saying is, this book seemed made for me. And at first, it was.
The novel starts off at a theme park, The Enchanted Park. You’re taken through some of the princess exhibits and then you go behind the scenes, when the guests leave the park. Each of the four princesses are four high school seniors—Tiffany, Amber, Courtney, and Michelle (seriously, the names are so 80s! If the author had been younger, there would have been a Madison, McKenna, or Kaylee/Kyleigh/Kaitlyn hybrid)—and they are building their post-school plans. But when things start to go awry, they realize that their park jobs as princesses may be the only thing they have to hang onto. And that’s when things start to fall apart at the park.
I really wanted to love this novel, but I also feel that this novel really wanted me to love it. That’s always a discouragement. Seriously, don’t work so hard for my affections! Just be you! I will follow! Also, the subplot of settling really, really bothered me. I won’t go into detail, but Michelle, the ambitious one, gets sort of pooh-poohed over her real desire to go to college, and the others don’t really take her seriously. As someone who was eager to get out of high school and face the Great World (to quote the Betsy-Tacey books), I always like to see high school students in fiction with ambition. I think we tend to lionize high school in fiction, when the reality is, peaking in high school does not do much for the rest of your life. I think that message left a bit of a sour note for me.
Also, Gallagher rushed through some important bits and completely hovered over boring parts that did not add to the story. This would be something to improve on for the next book. Take your time developing the story and cut out the bits that aren’t necessary! All in all, this wasn’t an amazing read. If you are curious and want to, go for it. It’s a fast read and there are some fun parts.