Saturday, March 17, 2007

review: The Prince and the Snowgirl

The Prince and the Snowgirl by Simon Cheshire. Delacorte, 2007 (978-0385-73342-7) $8.99 trade

Even though it mostly consists of waving at people at supermarket grand openings, fifteen-year-old Tom takes his job as a British crown prince look-alike seriously. (The prince in question, in this reality, is named Prince George.) Spurred on by his royalty-worshiping mother, he exerts himself to be polite and charming and exactly what a prince should be. And since he doesn't know how to tell his friend Louise that he loves her, and simply trying to ask his despondent friend Jack what the problem is makes Tom feel like he should be wearing a dress, he relies more and more on trying to be like his alter-ego--until a meeting with the real Prince George reveals a very different side to royalty.

With a bit of romance, a bit of sports action (Tom, Louise and Jack are all on a ski-team,) and a bit of a message about the responsibilities of fame and the importance of being yourself, this is a pleasant, light read. The strong British tone--not actually to the point that anyone exclaims, "What ripping fun, I'm down for scrum half this afternoon," but almost to the point that you expect them to--adds to its charm: you have to love a character who mentally harangues his boring teacher, "Oh shut up, sir!" (12 & up)

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