Friday, June 19, 2015

I Am Princess X

May Harper and Lily Deaton have been best friends since fifth grade. They do everything together although May is kind of awkward and shy while Lily is confident and outgoing. Together, they created the adventures of Princess X, a girl who lives in a haunted house, wheres sneakers, and carries a samurai sword. Then Lily and her mother die in a car accident. Now, May is sixteen and still feeling unresolved about her best friend's death. She starts to see Princess X everywhere on street art and stickers all over the place. Princess X is now a famous web comic with a mysterious creator. The adventures are different, but most of the characters are the same. Princess X has to find the five keys in order to escape the Needle Man. May starts to read it and sees references to her childhood with Lily. Convinced Lily is still alive, May examines the comic and tries to find the messages she believes Lily has left for her with the help of a tech savvy neighbor. Their quest attracts the attention of the real life Needle Man and the race is on to connect the dots and help Lily before he catches them.

I Am Princess X is Cherie Priest's first foray into young adult fiction and I enjoyed it. It's a hybrid comic book and novel. I read an ARC, so I didn't get to see the majority of the comic part. The art at the beginning was adorable and I'll have to pick up an official copy so I can see the grown up Princess X art. It starts with May and Lily's friendship and their adventures of Princess X. It's adorable, creative, and gave me the warm fuzzies. Then Priest drops the bomb: Lily and her mother die in a car accident. May never really recovers from it and always has an inkling that Lily is still alive. A lot of things just didn't add up and she discovers that her best friend and her mother were actually murdered. Her father rightfully becomes concerned when Lily obsesses over the Princess X comics. Maybe May is latching onto it simply because she never had closure and she sees things that aren't there. I was surprised that the plot went so dark, especially in such stark contrast to the happy, bubbly beginning. The darker plot really hit me and I felt for May.

The rest of the novel is a cool mystery/thriller where May deciphers each of the keys to find the mysterious comic book creator while avoiding the villain. I enjoyed her friendship with Trick, the hacker who gets roped into all this. They have kind of a sibling vibe and trade snarky remarks. The lack of any romantic subplot is so refreshing and I wish more YA books would follow suit. My only real problem with the novel is the Needle Man. He may as well be a shadow because his presence is just a blank menace. He doesn't even really seem like a person. The creepy factor is pretty high, but I don't care for one dimensional villains. The rest of the book is so well written that it stands out as meh.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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