Book Review: Princesses, Inc. by Mari Manscuso

Princesses, Inc. by Mari Manscuso is a middle grade novel that will also appeal to young adults. Twelve-year-old Hailey and her BFFs are all big fans of Collin Prince, a YouTube star. When the opportunity to meet him at a local Comic-Con comes up, the girls jump at the chance. The problem? The convention isn’t cheap—and the girls don’t have the money to go. But Hailey isn’t ready to give up just yet. In addition to meeting Collin at the convention, there is a young writer’s competition that she is determined to enter—and win. The girls dream up Princesses and Pirates, Inc., a babysitting service where the girls will dress up in costume to entertain their charges. Of course, they aren’t as prepared as they thought they would be to deal with bratty kids, scheming older siblings (who are less than thrilled that their own babysitting jobs have dried up), and trying to balance their new “jobs” with school. And more responsibilities means less time for Hailey to work on her contest entry. Will their plan to make it to Comic-Con pay off, or could their business end up as shipwrecked as the pirates they portray.

Princesses, Inc. is a nice story about girls taking a creative approach to reaching their goals. I liked the initiative, friendship, and passion of our main characters and think that on that level they set a good example for readers. They face problems, work toward a solution and despite stumbling blocks and some problems they found their way through, with a little help. I loved the humor and unpredictable nature of the babysitting jobs the girls undertook- as a mom and former babysitter I know that anything can, and will, happen. The balancing of activities and interests is something many tweens and teens face, and I liked the way it was tackled here. I also liked the realistic and relatable way the girls (and their families) are portrayed. I found it refreshing that the parents were parents, and said no but were not actively trying to stop the kids from following their own paths. This is a rare balance in children's literature, and I was incredibly glad to see it here. I think this is an inspiring and entertaining read for the middle grade audience.

Princesses, Inc. is a book that will appeal to readers that are already interested in youtube, comics, videogames, and writing. I liked the writing style and the initiative of the characters, but as a reader that is not overly fond of YouTube or fan fiction (but love the rest of the aspects of ComicCon) I just could not get fully engaged in certain aspects of the story. 

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