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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

When a flawlessly dressed woman steps out of an iridescent bubble and wants to know, like, now if you’d like to become a substitute princess, do you

a) run
b) faint
c) say Yes!

For Desi Bascomb, who’s been longing for a bit of glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C–that is, once she can stop pinching herself. As her new agent Meredith explains, Desi has a rare magical ability: when she applies the ancient Egyptian formula “Royal Rouge,” she can transform temporarily into the exact lookalike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a heinous crash diet? Or when the tribal villagers gather to watch you perform a ceremonial dance you don’t know? Or when a princess’s conflicted sweetheart shows up to break things off–and you know she would want you to change his mind?

In this hilarious, winning debut, one girl’s dream of glamour transforms into something bigger: the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.

In this witty debut Lindsey Leavitt creates a strong young voice straight from the scenes of Casablanca and Roman Holiday, punctuating the novel with strong female role models like Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn.

Desi’s wisdom and insight stretch far beyond her fourteen years. She has the strength, courage and impact of all of her great role models. She’s the type of girl that any girl – be it child, teen or adult – can relate to. Her voice is wonderfully depicted, but it’s her character that is her crowning glory. For any young girl, Desi is the perfect role model.

One of the best things about this book, in my opinion, is the many stories that are enwrapped into Desi’s. Throughout her adventures as a sub she encounters a whole host of characters. With each new assignment the reader, like Desi, is given the chance to transform into that princess and see everything from their eyes. This not only provides better insight into Desi’s character, but it also allows readers to experience the different lives of many very different princesses. It’s a unique look at vastly different cultures, yet always showing the universal similarities between the girls. Every one of them is looking for acceptance, confidence and the power to reach their dreams. Through Desi’s experiences as a sub, she not only helps the girls along that path, but also gains that for herself.

What amplified this already wonderful story was the way that Leavitt crafted Fa├žade agency and the process of subbing. Ever since hearing about Princess for Hire I’d been curious as to how she was going to work it. The bubble idea seemed a bit far fetched and my biggest fear going into it was that that feel may resonate through the entirety of the novel. Only, it didn’t. In fact, by the end of the book I was honestly mystified by the whole arrangement. The way in which Leavitt has created the agency completely overrode what could have been a somewhat cheesy idea, making it unbelievably awesome and flawlessly made. In fact, by the end I wanted my own bubble!

Princess for Hire is a fabulous debut novel filled with romance, princesses and magic. The ideal book for fans of fantasy, chick lit and anyone who’s ever dreamed of being a princess.

5 Stars!

Release: March 2010

Received from: Publisher via author request


  1. I want to read this soooo badly. It looks awesome AND cute AND veryvery pink. (:

  2. I loved this book! It was so fun, and you're right: Desi is the perfect role model.

  3. Yay Princess for Hire!!!!! I can't wait to see this one on screen!

  4. Thanks for the review. I've just started seeing this one around.

    You have an award at my blog.

  5. I loved, loved, LOVED this book! Was lucky enough to get an ARC, and read it twice! I think your review completely hit the nail on the head; Desi=awesome, P4H=DELIGHTFUL!

  6. Awesome book. Felt like I was watching a movie. Wish I was. Great on the surface and deeper levels. "Impact!" definitely


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