So I read these books awhile ago, got distracted and never posted a review. But I think Desi Bascomb from Princess for Hire & The Royal Treatment (by the lovely Lindsey Leavitt) deserves the Breakdown of a Heroine treatment.
Who is Desi?
Desi is a 14-year-old girl who works at a pet store as Gladys the Groundhog and makes her own t-shirts. She's cool beyond her years, which of course sets her back in social structure known as high school. But you know what? Desi's okay with being her own person. She'd like to avoid the tragedy of high school embarrassment (which with her job, is impossible) but she doesn't try to change herself to fit in.
Strength of Character
Desi is herself at the beginning of the book, when she's masquerading as Princess needing substitutes, and at the end of the book. Desi never loses herself. She tries to make a difference and do the right thing, not with a sword and epic quest, but with her Magical Potential and by following her heart.
Desi's story really starts when she sees an ad in the paper. She's looking for a new job because who wouldn't be if they found themselves walking around the mall in a groundhog costume? Turns out that Desi has Magical Potential (or MP). Add some MP and an ancient Egyptian rouge and viola you have an instant look-a-like Princess. Desi just needs to prove she's Princess material by passing a few trial runs. Only problem? Desi's a bit of a meddler, but only for the good of the Princesses, she swears!
Desi is old enough for crushes, but too young for any real romance. Lindsey Leavitt beautifully toes the line. In the second book Desi points out (many times) that she's too young to really know what it's like to be in love. The book has enough flirting without going overboard. The second book has a little more than the first book, but it sweet and builds nicely.
I really love these books. Desi is quirky and relatable. In some ways I see my high school self in her (I may have been in love with Clark Gable when I was 15, never mind that he was already dead). The books are fun and frothy, a little bit like a Disney channel movie but with better writing (though seriously when is Disney going to make these into a movie? They're all ready to be Disney-fied). They're lighthearted, young, not-mopey and just the right amount of teen flirting. They're a good quick read when you need something upbeat with a realistic heroine and a lot of heart. You don't have to be a girly-girly to appreciate this Princess story (Desi isn't!).