"Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to
I've been told to start one of these things for a while now, and I suppose it's about time I stop saying "Sure, I'll get around to it." I've been complaining about how disorganized all of my reviews are for ages, so I might as well get them collected in one place finally. Plus, after following other YA blogs for ages, it's about time I share my own thoughts. After a lot of thought, of course, I've decided to lose my blog virginity to Deb Caletti's latest novel.
Deb Caletti’s The Secret Life of Prince Charming tells the story of Quinn, daughter of a regular heart-breaking Casanova. With her mother, grandmother, and aunt all as women scorned, Quinn and her sister Sprout are brought up to distrust men and shield their hearts, a habit hard to overturn. While at her father’s house, Quinn learns about his dirty little secret involving his past relationships – a habit of stealing a valuable possession from each of his exes to put on display. Her disgust with her father combined with her own recent breakup drives Quinn to connect with her older stepsister (and polar opposite), Frances Lee. Together, along with Quinn’s sister Sprout and Frances Lee’s boyfriend’s brother Jake, they set out on the road to right their father’s wrongs. Within hours of takeoff, this road trip becomes one with a purpose beyond vengeance, or even justice, for all of those involved. Rather, along the way, the trip becomes one of self-understanding and discovery, especially for Quinn. Guided by the insight of diverse women, she is able to learn for herself the true meaning of sisterhood and love.
Deb Caletti truly outdoes herself in The Secret Life of Prince Charming. As a fan of all of Caletti’s books, I would say that this one is even more touching and powerful than her others. Quinn’s voice connects with the reader almost immediately, allowing her exploration to reach deep into the heart of the reader. While the premise of this book had the potential to get overly heavy and preachy, Caletti avoids this by managing to draw in the wisdom of multiple generations in such an optimistic and endearing manner. The combination of the three sisters and Jake creates the perfect mix of caution and recklessness for this story.
The only weakness of Caletti’s The Secret Life of Prince Charming is the presentation of the diary insets. When they are first encountered by the reader, their purpose is unclear, especially as many of the women are not identified by name until after the inset. However, once the reader is able to connect the names of these women to those that Quinn comes in contact to, the insets work to heighten the significance and universality of Quinn’s road trip and Caletti’s message.
As a novel that bridges the gap between generations, The Secret Life of Prince Charming is the perfect book for mothers to share with their daughters. All in all, this book is yet another success for National Book Award finalist (for Honey, Baby, Sweetheart) author Deb Caletti. 10 out of 10.