Meg Cabot is a prolific and highly successful teen author whose most well known series is ‘The Princess Diaries’, which has been made into a highly successful Disney film. Since then she has gone on to write quantities of teen fiction, including romance and supernatural series.
Cabot’s work is very engaging. Her writing style is pacy and she often writes in the first person voice of her heroines. She champions the underdogs, both her heroes and heroines do not always fit the mould of ‘acceptable’ romance material. Her heroines are, refreshingly, not typical teen cheerleader types. Often they are artists, or film makers. They tend to have a social conscience and walk a different path than anyone else in their school. They are articulate and thoughtful girls who question the teenage norms and yet still find true love. They are icons of hope for misfits. Cabot is particularly interested in girls and their body image and has written a series of books which explore how much of a girl’s self esteem is linked to their body image, and what losing that image does to and for them.
Cabot has an engaging sense of fun, and her characters either have an amusing way of articulating themselves, or she puts them in amusing or original situations. She has typical New York teenagers inheriting European principalities, or girls saving the life of the president of America, for example. She is particularly good at exploring how the misfits she writes about are released from their hang ups by facing even more extreme and bizarre situations than the every day traumas of high school. The mix of humour, romance and quite often the serious messages she embeds in her narratives make her books an appealing alternative to the often quite schmaltzy fare available in the teen romance genre.
Having said all this, I have found the few books of hers that I have read, rather samey, and if you have a child who is a fan of Cabot you might want to try and introduce other authors or works into their literary diet to spice things up a bit.
Her books are also very much in the YA/Teen camp, as they do discuss sexuality quite frankly, and because of this they are not suitable for primary school aged children at all, despite their alluring candy coloured covers, or indeed the rather sanitised Disney film version of The Princess Diaries.
Her books are completely geared for the teenage girl market. There is very little, if anything here that would appeal to boys. I would recommend them to girls aged 12 and up.
Cabot has a website which you can access by clicking on the link here.