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I Am Princess X

I Am Princess X

4.0 7
by Cherie Priest

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Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went


Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X?

When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There's an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby's story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon -- her best friend, Libby, who lives.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

*"Priest's YA debut is an engrossing cyberthriller packed with a puzzling mystery, crackerjack detective work, and an eerie, atmospheric sense of place. Teens who roll their eyes at adults out of touch with Internet culture will eat this up." -- Booklist, starred review

*"An excellent book with loads of cross-genre and cross-format appeal. Highly recommended." -- School Library Journal, starred review

*"Fresh and contemporary, this hybrid novel/comic packs a lot of plot in a relatively short book, but its strongest suit may be Priest's keen understanding of the chasmic gap between the way teens and adults engage in the landscape of the Internet." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

Publishers Weekly
★ 03/30/2015
Back in fifth grade, best friends May and Libby created Princess X, a katana-wielding heroine who wears Converse sneakers with her ball gown. Ever since Libby and her mother died in a freak accident, May’s life has been as gray as her Seattle home—until the 16-year-old spots a Princess X sticker in a store window, leading her to a Princess X webcomic that suggests that Libby might still be alive. With the help of Trick, a hacker-for-hire, May follows the trail that Princess X’s near-mythic narrative leaves for her, which incorporates Seattle landmarks like the Fremont Troll and characters like the dangerous Needle Man and the mysterious, helpful Jackdaw. Illustrations from the Princess X comic—skillfully rendered by Ciesemier and printed in purple—add greatly to this techno-thriller’s tension. Fresh and contemporary, this hybrid novel/comic packs a lot of plot in a relatively short book, but its strongest suit may be Priest’s keen understanding of the chasmic gap between the way teens and adults engage in the landscape of the Internet. Ages 12–up. Author’s agent: Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary. (May)
School Library Journal
★ 04/01/2015
Gr 7 Up—May and Libby created Princess X on the day they met in fifth grade. That was before Libby and her mother died in a car crash. Now May is 16 and looking at another long, lonely summer in Seattle when she spots a Princess X sticker on the corner of a store window. Suddenly she starts seeing Princess X everywhere, including in a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com, where the princess story is eerily similar to Libby's. This means that the only person who could have created the comic is May's best friend—Libby—who must still be alive. In her YA debut, Priest offers a tantalizing, page-turner of a mystery that spans real locations in Seattle and dark pockets of the Internet. May is an assertive, capable heroine who finds help from likable and well-realized characters along the way in this fresh and authentic story. Even when the action moves online, Priest keeps the story exciting and approachable without ever resorting to technical jargon. Accompanying illustrations by Ciesemier bring the story found in the webcomic to life and integrate beautifully with May's search for Libby in this utterly satisfying read. VERDICT An excellent book with loads of cross-genre and cross-format appeal. Highly recommended.—Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Cryptic clues in a Web comic put a Seattle teenager onto the trail of a deranged kidnapper and his victim. Three years after the (supposed) drowning of bosom friend Libby, 16-year-old May is shocked to see new stickers and other merch for "Princess X," an intrepid swordswoman in a puff-sleeved dress and sneakers that she and Libby had privately invented in fifth grade. The princess's recently posted online adventures tell a scary tale about escaping from a "Needle Man" years after being stolen as a replacement for his own dead daughter. They leave May convinced that Libby is still alive—hiding out from her clever, relentless captor and imbedding veiled messages in the comic that only May would catch. Said hints lead May and Trick, a hacker dude she goes to for help, on a quest through the city's seedier and underground quarters to encounters with Jackdaw (a gay, goth Robin Hood) and a desperate scheme to steal proof of the Needle Man's perfidy. Priest cranks the suspense somewhat by casting the kidnapper as both an IT expert and a killer, but because he mostly appears only in the emotionally charged, sparely drawn purple-and-black comics pages that Ciesemier scatters through the tale's first two-thirds, he remains, at best, a shadowy bogeyman. Promising elements aplenty, but they never fully mesh or deliver more than a passing chill. (Thriller. 11-14)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Cherie Priest is the author of more than a dozen adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels, including Boneshaker, which won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and can be found online at www.cheriepriest.com and @cmpriest.

Kali Ciesemier's work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, Ebony, Mental Floss, and many other publications. She lives in New York. Please visit her website at www.ciesemier.com and follow her on Twitter at @kalidraws.

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I Am Princess X 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is what im going through
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The story line, the mhstery, and just about everything
DavidWiley More than 1 year ago
It has taken me the better part of a week to put my thoughts together enough to form a cohesive and honest review for this book. I will start by admitting that this was a rare time where I judged a book solely by its cover. I grabbed it from the library after seeing a princess wielding a sword because I felt that had to be an awesome book to read. After all, who wouldn't want to read about a sword-wielding princess that fights her own battles against some enemies? Heck, I still want to read that book. This was not that book. And if I had read the back of the book, I would have known and understood that before checking this out. All of that being said, this was still a really good book. Not the book I expected to read nor the one I wanted to read, but also not one I regret reading. It is hard to discuss this book, given that there are many mysteries that even discussing the first chapter or two could potentially lead to a spoiler or two, so rather than discussing the book (it is good) or the plot (it is riveting and intriguing!) I will instead focus on what worked well in this book as a complete package. Forgive me for being vague where I need to, but I really would hate to spoil anything for a new reader, and hope that you will be that new reader who picks this one up. I absolutely loved the integration of the comic book elements into the book. I found them to be fitting with the story and the timing of some provided foreshadowing while others helped to show some of what the main character is reading as she is trying to uncover the mysteries being presented. I am certain that, if I reread the book, I would find a lot of subtle hints hidden in those comic strips that I missed the first time through, which is pretty awesome to think about as well. It was a nice addition to the story and it worked really well for me. The level of realism that permeates through the plot and the characters is another thing that impressed me. I had a clear sense of who all of the characters were, and even the antagonist (when revealed) made sense and was scary in a "this could really actually happen" sort of way that I can appreciate upon reflection. In fact, the whole plot and the web of mysteries, the twists and turns along the way that pull you along through the story, were all excellent because of the ability to see it being a real situation that could happen. That, more than anything, is where this story succeeds. You bond with the characters, you share in the excitement and the mystery, and you recoil at the proper times because you believe it is possible. Some moments might be a stretch, but it never shifts into the realm where you have to suspend disbelief in order to keep going. So overall this was a good book and I am glad I read it. This wasn't a mystery on the same level of greatness as a Sherlock Holmes story, but few are capable of achieving that height. The story surpassed all of my expectations (once they were adjusted to fit what the story actually was rather than what I mistakenly thought it should be) and I can confidently recommend this to anyone who is looking to pick up a short and interesting mystery. The fact that it is a Young Adult mystery makes it a fast read, and the comics interspersed throughout also aid to that. It is definitely the sort of book you could pick up and read in a day, or at least a weekend, and I highly recommend that you do so. It'll be a more rewarding investment of time and money than going to a movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good book I love it
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest My second book I have read for the book fair talk. I have had previous exposure to Cherie Priest’s books, having read her character in George R R Martin’s Wild Cards books. She has made another outstanding character. Ms. Priest has brought to life the perfect book for the new genre of mixed graphic arts and chapter books. This book is a combination of both. Her inventive way of using the graphic novel to help create clues in the book is amazing. The main character is a normal girl surviving her parents’ divorce, but her history is not so normal, she lost her best friend and co-writer in a car crash. Like Lily and James Potter, Lily or Princess X could not have died in a car crash. The story follows the characters as the piece together from the clues in the Princess X graphic novel, how Lily was taken, imprisoned and accepted. This is not the beginning of the story, nor is it the end, reading the book through to the end will amaze and delight you. And the graphic novel is nothing but admirable.
mamelotti96 More than 1 year ago
I had been seeing I Am Princess X floating around lately in the blog-o-sphere, so when I saw it at my library I decided to go ahead and pick it up. I don't have any big problems with the book, because the whole concept and story were pretty good. A bit random, but still entertaining. My biggest thing that kept throwing me, especially in the beginning when we meet Libby and May as kids, was how they were in fifth grade but they spoke like high schoolers. As the book went on, I kept thinking that the characters were older or younger at times, because of the way they spoke.  I Am Princess X is written in third person and follows May, Libby's best friend, and Trick, a computer nerd who helps May track down Libby's whereabouts. I highly enjoyed reading from the third person point of view, because I have been reading a lot of books written in the first person. It was a nice change to be outside of the character's head for once. I will admit that third person makes it a bit harder to grow close to the characters, but I felt Priest did a great job portraying the emotions we should be having as the story progresses. Emotions, such as, fear, worry, and being in suspense along with the characters. The book is split into chapters with the majority of them following May as she tries to decipher the clues that she finds in the I Am Prince X web-comic. However, every once in awhile a chapter would follow Trick to see what he was up to with the whole mystery of Needle Man, Libby's captor.  Since the novel was written in third person, it is a bit hard for you to truly get to know the characters. May is a determined girl who is searching for her should be dead best friend from three years ago. Libby, maybe or maybe not alive best friend, and her created a comic I Am Princess X when they were in fifth grade. May would do the writing, and Libby would do all the drawing. They continued to create scenarios for Princess X up until the point that Libby died...supposedly. We know that May's parents split soon after Libby's death, and now May goes back and forth between them. That's it though. Same goes for Trick. He is the pure definition of a computer nerd. He has this huge set up that lets him do all kinds of crazy things that you wouldn't be able to do with a normal computer. We know he had a full ride to University of Washington, but that was revoked when he didn't think through his actions too well while dealing with anger. We also know that he is on the short side, and it's something that has always and will always bother him.  I love how the comic is dispersed through the novel, and how the clues are hidden in the comic for May to find in order to locate Libby. The comic also tells how the Needle Man kidnapped Libby for his reasons, and how he is on the hunt for her again since she ran away. Reading the comic was probably my favorite part of the book! I would recommend I Am Princess X to suspense lovers and cat and mouse chase lovers. This book will definitely not be for everyone, however I encourage everyone to give it a chance. 
DownrightDystopian More than 1 year ago
**Thank you to Scholastic for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!**  Though many of you may not know it, I'm the biggest comic book fan. I love reading comics and graphic novels about zombies, video gaming adventures, and superheroes. They're just super fun and interesting to read. That's why the moment that I heard about this book, I knew that I would absolutely love it. I'm here to tell you that my hunch was right.  May and Libby were close friends when they were younger. They created the character of Princess X, who went on tons of dazzling adventures with her converse and katana sword. Libby and May continued to be friends until the point where Libby got in an accident and died, as her body was found dead by a river. May just doesn't believe that she's really gone, especially a few years later when she finds drawings of Princess X around town.  After Libby's death, May went over to Libby's house to get the Princess X stories but the stories were already gone, so it was strange to suddenly have a character so secretive start turning up as graffiti and wall art. May even began to find people who had Princess X on their shirts as pins. Turns out that there's a whole website dedicated to Princess X, but they are all completely new stories. As May begins to search more and look into this website, she realizes that it's interwoven with hidden easter eggs and clues, which leads her to believe that Libby really is alive.  My favorite aspect of this book would have to be that it perfectly combines comic pictures and storytelling. As a reader, you'll be reading the book and then as May begins to read the Princess X stories online, you'll be able to read them too because they were drawn into the book. It was an overall great experience, because instead of May explaining to others what she had read, you got to read it first hand.  I also loved the friendship between May and Trick. May calls Trick after finding his number on a paper to call in case of computer problems because she couldn't get her computer to turn on. The two of them become close friends. For some reason, I kept expecting a romance to spark between the two, but I love how Priest kept the two of them just as friends. It was very refreshing to read because of that. I know for sure that I'll be buying a print copy of this (and probably a few extras too, to give to friends) and I definitely think that you should too! I'll be sure to read more by Priest in the future.