The Barnes & Noble Review
Princess Mia takes a socially conscious -- and royally hilarious -- spring break in this short paperback special edition in the Princess Diaries series!
Always looking to help the less fortunate, Genovia's princess is on her way to West Virginia to build homes with Housing for the Hopeful. Despite the problems she bravely faces -- sleeping in a tent on the ground, Port-O-Lets, insects, and corn at every meal -- Mia is focused on something much better: Michael's coming, and there will be much Grandmère-less time for making out. Thankfully, Mia gets plenty of kissing in with her hunky beau, and after a local family's new home brings the princess an extra dose of appreciation for hard work, she heads back to New York, where the conveniences of life remind her that there's "no place like home."
Short in length and sweet on every level, this quick read is another jewel in Meg Cabot's crown. Fans will get a kick out of reading about Mia's trials and tribulations with outdoor West Virginia life, and they'll see stars when she mentions secret smooching sessions with Michael. Another lighthearted Princess Mia gem that shouldn't be missed.
Read an Excerpt
The Princess Diaries, Volume IV and a Half: Project Princess
By Meg Cabot
Harper Collins Publishers Copyright © 2003 Meg Cabot All right reserved. ISBN: 0060571314
Thursday, March 10, the loft
I am completely exhausted. I don't know why, when I must already bear the burden of having been born a princess - even though I was not aware of it until recently - that I also have been cursed with such a trying family.
I mean, it is bad enough that they waited until I was nearly fifteen before letting me in on the whole "oh-by-the-way-you're-a-princess" thing. But now they can't even agree on whether or not I can spend my Spring Break with the rest of the Albert Einstein High School Gifted and Talented class in West Virginia, volunteering for Housing for the Hopeful.
As if doing good works for the less fortunate was not what being a princess is all about!
And okay, I can see how my whole Princess-Di-and-the-landmines argument didn't work on Grandmère - who thinks I spend enough time in my overalls as it is - but my MOM? I just spent an hour impressing upon my mother Housing for the Hopeful's "theology of the hammer": how partnerships founded on common ground - for instance, a lot of people from different cultural, religious, and socioeconomic groups getting together to build a house - bridge theological differences by putting caring into action. I mentioned how everyone, no matter howuneducated, can use a hammer, turning it into an instrument that manifests peace and love.
My pregnant mom - who was lying on her bed watching Stolen Women: Captured Hearts on the Lifetime Movie Channel with a carton of Häagen-Dazs chocolate-chocolate-chip ice cream balanced on her enormous belly (even though she is supposed to be limiting her saturated fat intake to less than twenty grams daily due to her more-than-thirty-pound weight gain in the past half year) - just looked at me and asked, "Mia, are you in a cult?"
OH, MY GOD! Only the extreme hormonal imbalance my mother is going through right now could make her believe that my working to provide affordable housing for the poor so that they can live in dignity and safety is in any way comparable to religious fanaticism.
When I mentioned that out loud, however, my mother shrieked, "Frank! Come here, quick! Mia's in a cult!"
Thank God Mr. Gianini came into the bedroom - he'd been in the living room, practicing his drums - and explained to my mother in a calm, reasonable voice that Housing for the Hopeful is not a cult, that it is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide. He also said that he himself had volunteered to escort students from Albert Einstein the past five Spring Breaks, and that the only reason he hadn't gone this year was on account of my mom being pregnant with his unborn child, the sex of which we do not know because my mom says if she knows it's a boy she won't have any incentive to push, men being the reason we even need organizations like Housing for
the Hopeful. Because male politicians make such bad decisions when they are elected to public office, such as starting expensive and unnecessary wars before making sure all their constituents have decent housing first, etc.
So then I pointed out to my mom that Tina Hakim Baba, who isn't even in Gifted and Talented, and whose father owns a bunch of oil wells and is always worried about Tina getting kidnapped by some rival oil baron's henchmen, has been given special permission to go. And that Lilly Moscovitz, resident school genius and my best friend, is going. Ditto her boyfriend, Boris Pelkowski, violin virtuoso and mouth breather.
Then I added that my own boyfriend, Lilly's older brother Michael, is going, as well. I tried not to look too eager as I stressed this last piece of information. I mean, really, there's no reason to belabor the fact that Michael and I would be together, without parental supervision, in the wilds of West Virginia for five whole days. I was pretty sure my mom wouldn't be too thrilled if she realized this was the primary reason for my wanting to go. I tried to make it sound like the primary reason for my wanting to go was my desire to help those less fortunate than me.
Which is completely, 100 percent true. But also ... well, I sort of want to make out with my boyfriend without having his parents or my mother or stepfather or grandmother barge in on us.
I stressed to my mom that the trip is totally a school sanctioned outing, and would be fully supervised by Dr. Juan Gonzales, the director of the Northeast Division of Housing for the Hopeful; Albert Einstein High School's principal, Principal Gupta; Mrs. Hill from my Gifted and Talented class (not that I am gifted or talented, but whatever); Mademoiselle Klein from French; and Mr. Wheeton, the track coach and Health and Safety teacher.
Oh, and that - hello - the Appalachian Mountains are only, like, seven hours away from Manhattan by bus, and the whole trip is only for five days, so what is the BIG DEAL????
But my mom still looked a little skeptical ...
... until I mentioned that Grandmère had declared that my wanting to go at all was entirely Mom's fault, for enrolling me in such a hippy-dippy school in the first place.
When I told Mom that, she got this look in her eye, and went, "Your grandmother said that? You know what, Mia? You can go. Now get out of the way, you're blocking Janine Turner."
It's a wonder I'm as well adjusted as I am, if you think about everything I have to put up with.
Well, whatever. After all that arguing, I'M GOING TO WEST VIRGINIA!!!!!!!!!!
Excerpted from The Princess Diaries, Volume IV and a Half: Project Princess by Meg Cabot
Copyright © 2003 by Meg Cabot
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.