Macmillan Children's, 2009 (2008)
Is the practically perfect J.P. the real love of Mia's life?
Has Michael Moscovitz fallen for a brainbox Japanese beauty?
And is Mia REALLY the last unicorn at Albert Einstein High?
In the last instalment of the Princess Diaries series, Mia is about to graduate from high school and turn eighteen. In the time between this book and the previous one, Mia has finished her romance novel (Ransom My Heart), been accepted to every college she applied to, and is preparing for graduation, prom, and the huge birthday party her Grandmere is throwing for her.
I haven't read all of the Princess Diaries books, but the ones I have read have always been entertaining and when I saw this in the library I thought it would be fun to see what happened to Mia (and whether she would ever get back together with Michael, he of the nice smelling neck and brother of her ex-best-friend Lilly). The book is the usual mixture of Mia's diary entries, IMs, and notes and text messages passed between her and her friends, with the added inclusion of pages from her romance novel and the stack of rejection letters she keeps receiving in the post. Mia is a funny, very likable protagonist, and despite the whole princess thing manages to be entirely believable throughout, from her exasperation with her family to being completely dense about boys and just a little bit worried that she might be the last virgin left in her graduating class. Her diary entries veer from thoughtful to hopeful to despairing to absolutely manic, and her internal thought processes are both recognisable and very funny.
The sex thing was dealt with really well, I thought - most of Mia's friends have had sex, and Mia is kind of embarrassed by still being a virgin and decides it might be time to sleep with her boyfriend, even though he smells like dry cleaning fluid. (He is perfect, after all.) It was nice to see it acknowledged that an eighteen year old girl might actually want to have sex, but also that it shouldn't be rushed into with the wrong person.
Despite his apparent perfection, J.P. is incredibly unappealing and far too shiny for my tastes, so it was nice to see the return of Michael, even if he and Mia tend to confuse each other endlessly. I like how Mia's friends have changed through the series - again, that felt more realistic and in keeping with the fact that lots of people drift apart as teenagers - and in this book Mia starts to see who she can really rely on. I liked that she and Lilly had a little bit more interaction, and that the book was focused on friendships as well as relationships.
Mia's Grandmere was hilarious as usual, frustrated with Mia's lack of ability to pick a prom dress or dis-invite her less appealing relatives from her high profile birthday party, but Mia also finds her grandmother's advice useful at times, and the balance was nice to see. One thing I like about these books is Mia's family is always very present and involved in her life, even if that does sometimes cause more problems than solutions. As a conclusion to the whole series, I thought the book did a great job of tying up all the loose ends and sending Mia off into the future a few steps closer to that self-actualisation goal she was always talking about in the earlier books.
Overall rating: 8/10
Book source: Borrowed from the library.