Thursday, June 16, 2011

Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

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Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
2010; Disney-Hyperion


When Desi Bascomb gets discovered by the elite Facade Agency–royalty surrogates extraordinaire–her life goes from glamour-starved to spectacular in a blink. As her new agent, Meredith, explains, Desi has a rare magical ability: when she applies the ancient Egyptian formula “Royal Rouge,” she can transform temporarily into the exact lookalike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a heinous crash diet? Or when the tribal villagers gather to watch you perform a ceremonial dance you don’t know? Or when a princess’s conflicted sweetheart shows up to break things off–and you know she would want you to change his mind?

In this hilarious series debut, one girl’s dream of glamour transforms into something bigger: the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time. (courtesy of Goodreads)


Princess For Hire is 240 pages of pure, unadulterated cuteness. If you want a book that will bring a smile to your face and brighten up a tough day, you need to pick up this book.

Desi Bascomb is a nobody. First off, she lives in nowheres-ville Idaho. She's not the beauty queen her mom wishes her to be. Her former best friend hates her because Desi's dad got her dad sent to prison. Her crush, the handsome, most popular boy in school doesn't know she exists. And to add insult to injury, she has to dress up in a groundhog costume for her job at the pet store.

It's understandable that Desi jumps at the opportunity to be someone when Meredith shows up, tells her she has Magic Potential, and offers her the opportunity to be a substitute princess.

Desi really makes this book. Despite having the typical low self-esteem of a normal teenager, Desi is independent, brave, and outspoken. She always has a question in mind and is willing to speak up when something isn't right (except around her classmates). I also loved her hobbies - classic movies and designing T-shirts - refreshingly different for YA characters.

The plot is adorable. Being able to magically transform into a princess look-alike just with the application of "Royal Rouge" sounds like it would be stupid, but Leavitt makes it work. She establishes a world where the idea of Royal Rouge seems believable - or at least has a well thought out creation story. I loved meeting all the different princes and princesses, seeing their different personalities, and their different lives.

It was great seeing how Desi reacted to her princess' lives. Not content to just play pretend, Desi tries to make things better. It's totally in keeping with her personality, but perhaps not what Facade Academy has in mind for its Subs. Creates conflict. It was also nice to see how Desi changed as a girl through living her princess's lives. If you can stick up for yourself when you're pretending to be someone else, maybe you can stick up for yourself too.

While the plot itself is original, the direction of the story isn't overly surprising. Also, a few characters such as Meredith and Lilith were a bit too cardboard for me. The flaws aren't a big deal though. When I started Princess for Hire, I expected a cute, sweet book that would follow a relatively predictable path and that's what I got. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Rating: 4 / 5


  1. I agree that the plot wasn't suprising and it didn't left much for the imagination. :0 But it was still a fun and cute story. :)

    Ps; The genre I usually read is paranormal romance and urban fantasy! I love those two genres! But this month I have read a lot of contemporary teen lit. It's not my favourite genre and also I have not read a lot of books in this genre! :)

  2. I love strong, independent female characters. It is always great knowing new believable worlds. Great review!

  3. Great review, Alison! I agree, there weren't too many surprises, but I adore the world Lindsey created with Facade.

  4. Thanks for the review! I have never read anything by this author. It sounds like a great book!

  5. This does sound ridiculously adorable:) I need a super cute book like this, I've been reading a lot of the darker ones lately! Awesome review Alison, I haven't heard too much about this series outside one or two other reviews, so I'm really glad you posted this!

  6. Great review! I read this one last year, and I have to agree with your review- it was a very cute read. I cannot wait to read the sequel.

  7. Great review. Sounds like a nice sweet summer read.

  8. Mmm... Princess for Hire is like candy for the mind~~

  9. Great. Now I want to run off to Sephora and get that Royal Rouge!

    As if it'd help. LOL

    Glad you enjoyed it. It does sound incredibly sweet and cute. Also, I like the inner strength vibe of it.

  10. I haven't read it but it sounds like a super light, fun summer read. Sometimes I really need a book like this and I'm sure I will be picking it up. Great review!

  11. Yay for cute reads! After gorging on "dark YA" (haha), I'm in the mood for light and adorable. Thanks for the review!
    Happy Reading,
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  12. Hee! Ain't nothing wrong with a cute and fun read every once in a while! Or all the time, if that's your thing.

  13. This book sounds cute :) kind of like something I could take to the beach with me...which i totally intend to do now that its summer! :D

  14. This series has been on my wishlist for a long time. It sounds really cute and perfect for summer. I need to check it out.


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