The Princesses of Iowa
By M. Molly Backes
Publication date: May 8, 2012
Candlewick Press, 464 pages
What does it mean to do wrong, when no one punishes you? A smart and unflinching look at friendship, the nature of entitlement, and growing up in the heartland.
Paige Sheridan has the perfect life. She’s pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a night of partying ends in an it-could-have-been-so-much worse crash, everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot is her creative writing class, led by a charismatic new teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this arresting and witty debut, a girl who was once high-school royalty must face a truth that money and status can’t fix, and choose between living the privileged life of a princess, or owning up to her mistakes and giving up everything she once held dear.
— Goodreads.com description
Okay, so full disclosure: I know M. Molly Backes. AND I THINK SHE IS AMAZING.
As in, I think every word that comes out of her mouth is equal parts hilarious and genius. She makes me laugh.
Molly was my teacher in a YA novel writing class I took last year, and I’m maybe joining her writers workshop very soon.
As the book description says, Paige is going through some serious dramarama, and the only bright spot is her creative writing class. It’s this outlet that helps her steer away from the hopelessness she’s feeling. I see The Princesses of Iowa as a love letter to writing, and knowing that it was written by someone who helped me rediscover my love of creative writing made it an extra special reading experience.
Paige’s character growth and struggles swept me back to my teen years — I could relate to her on so many levels. Not that I was rich/popular/Homecoming Princessy/etc., but I totally “got” her friendship and popularity dramas and, frankly, know what it’s like to have a boyfriend you should have dumped AGES ago.*
I kept pausing, a little shocked like, “This story feels like it could be about me.” I love when that happens!
The Princesses of Iowa is an entertaining and inspirational debut that I definitely recommend. And, for me, it was yet another reminder from Miss Molly that I should keep writing. Thanks, Molly! ♥
*Do we think my ex-boyfriends read this blog? I REALLY HOPE NOT.