Author: Cherie Priest.
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.
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.
I really liked the alternating between webcomic and story. And I loved the way Libby has turned her painful reality into a fairytale. I could have gone for a bit more fairytale, really; both more of the webcomic, and a gentler reality (rather than multiple characters of dubious moral and very un-fairytale-ish swearing). This isn’t a mystery in the conventional sense, where all the clues are provided and the alert reader can solve it as fast or faster than the protagonist. It’s more thriller-style, with the clues and their safety all depending on May. A fun, quick story that didn’t quite realize all the potential in its premise.
Sexual content: “Downloading dirty books onto Libby’s e-reader and giggling madly until they got caught”. In describing a character briefly, “His father said he could move right out if he was going to like other boys like that.”
Language: 12 scatological terms, 5 hell, 4 d***
Violence: Car chases two kids, swerving through traffic, and hurting a few pedestrians off-screen. Man shoots a girl non-fatally. Girl kicks the man, jabs with a penknife, and hits him in the ribs with a cinderblock.