THE PRINCESS & THE PAUPER
Kate Brian, Kieran Scott, . . S&S, $14.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-689-86173-4
Pseudonymous author Brian kits out a tried-and-true plot in breezy, Princess Diaries–style lingo and sets out to capture readers whose literary tastes run to light. The alternating narrators are two teens whose lifestyles and personalities are as different as their physiques and facial features are uncannily similar. Sick of her overprotected, predictable routines, spoiled Princess Carina of the Vineland has one dream: to meet her American e-mail pen pal, a rock star who just happens to be performing in L.A. during Carina's "goodwill tour" there. The princess's itinerary includes a stop at the school her grandmother attended. Along with her feisty friend and traveling companion Ingrid, Carina visits the school's restroom where a girl who could be Carina's twin emerges from a stall. The lookalike is Julia, a down-to-earth student at the school whose waitress mother can't cover the rent on their apartment. Spotting the two girls' striking likeness, Ingrid proposes that they swap places for a night: for a sum that will more than pay the back rent, Julia will attend a fancy ball in Carina's place and the princess will pose as Julia and meet up with the rock star. The ensuing scenarios are entertaining if not surprising, and the author crowns the tale with an ending worthy of any felicitous fairy tale. Ages 10-14.
Reviewed on: 06/16/2003