Author: Vivian Vande Velde
208 Pages-Ages 8-12
Published by: Scholastic Press on 10 October 2017
Princess Gabriella is accustomed to a certain kind of castle life. So when she wakes up one morning in a crowded hut, surrounded by squabbling fairy siblings, it takes all her princess training to maintain her poise and good manners.
Meanwhile, across the kingdom, Fairy Phleg revels in Gabriella’s luxurious lifestyle. As long as she can fool the castle into believing she’s the real princess-with a little help from her magical disguise-then she’s set to enjoy three glorious days of sweets and comfort.
The mischievous fairies have placed a bet, and Gabriella is caught in the middle of it. Can she survive her time in the chaotic fairy household without failing the ultimate princess test and losing her temper? Phleg turns the castle upside down as she poses as Gabriella, but when an important guest arrives, will her antics unwittingly send the kingdom into war?
My local used bookshop was having their buy one get one free summer sale and I couldn’t resist the urge to buy a bunch of books. This happened to be one of them. It’s hard to say what attracted me to this book. The cover is cute and the length highly suggests it’s going to be a quick fluffy read. The title isn’t super descriptive, but it makes me think the story is going to be very straightforward and uncomplicated. And sometimes uncomplicated is exactly what I’m in the mood for!
As I originally thought this book was adorably uncomplicated; not to say it was boring, though.
I must say that throughout the book, especially in the middle, I was more interested in reading about Princess Gabriella and Parf. They have one of those cute “I hate you, but secretly like you” relationships. Phleg was a little harder to like, especially at the beginning. I began to start liking Phleg when she runs away from an uncomfortable situation into the forest. That is one of the most immature things to do, but it’s totally something I can relate to (but not something you should do)!
There doesn’t really seem to be a huge moral of the story here. The story is laced with small examples of good role models. For example, Prinecss Gabriella doesn’t lose her temper when faced with adversity and she does her best to follow the rules of the fairy people. And in the case of Phleg Fredrick falls in love with her, not for her appearance but whatever’s on the inside which he proves by finding her absolutely beautiful ever in her true fairy form.
I really liked the last page of the book:
It is said that once there was a fairy girl and a human prince who met and fell in love, and then lived happily ever after.
It is also said that there was a human princess and a fairy boy who met, and they eventually fell in love, and then they lived happily ever after, too. But that one took a little more work.
Assuming the human princess and fairy boy are Princess Gabriella and Parf (which I think is a pretty safe assumption), I think it’s so cute that they had to work at their little love story, which is just so true for real life! Phleg and Fredrick’s romance felt a bit too shallow, perfect for a typical princess story, but not exactly satisfying. On the other hand, Gabriella and Parf’s have one of those relationships where they are getting to know each other and they like each other, but they still feel a little unsure. Not everything Parf does is something Princess Gabriella likes and vice versa, but they still want to get to know more about each other. It’s cute, and it’s the type of relationship that I root for in stories!
Overall, this is a fun, clean, uncomplicated book with a touch of romance. Definitely recommended to younger folks.