May misses her best friend Libby. Three years ago, Libby was in an accident; her mother drove their car off a bridge, and they both drowned. Now, still struggling with her grief, May starts seeing strange signs of Libby’s presence. Not ghostly signs, but rather a symbol, a character she and Libby created as kids. A princess with a katana and red Chucks. Princess X appears on graffiti, stickers, bag patches and buttons, and suddenly May is flooded with hope.
Is Libby still alive?
Discovering that Princess X is featured in a mysterious and virally popular webcomic sets fire to May’s soul and sends her on a wild, impossible to anticipate search across Seattle to find clues as to what really happened to Libby, and how to find the real Princess X.
I Am Princess X is an extraordinary YA thriller about grief, friendship, and finding the truth even in the face of extreme odds. I devoured it faster than a cherry limeade on a hot day, and loved every page of it. It was exciting, unexpected, intelligent and unique. May is a smart protagonist with a lot of very real feelings and qualities. Her grief over losing Libby so suddenly resonated with me – I lost one of by best friends several years ago, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t dreamed countless times of discovering one day that she hadn’t actually died and was out there, waiting to be reunited with me. Her unlikely assistant, the hacker Patrick, is a good kid with a lot of skill, but has the right amount of wit and awkwardness to make the journey interesting. The pair of them have a few moments of half-hearted flirtation (mostly born out of frustration) but on the whole their relationship is friendly and not romantic, something I found refreshing and, I admit, so smoothly executed that I didn’t even notice until after I’d finished reading. I like a good bit of romance in any story I read, but I prefer it when it’s not been awkwardly shoehorned in. The integration of the webcomic illustrations with the prose chapters was amazing, too. I was eager to keep going, to see more, to find out what really happened just as much as May and Trick were.
Award-winning author Cherie Priest is possibly best known for her steampunk novels such as Boneshaker and Dreadnought and her current dreadpunk spin on Lizzie Borden, Maplecroft. You can follow her on Twitter and her website, and give I Am Princess X a go if you want something fast, suspenseful, and ingenious. I loved it!