As the title suggests: Mia Goes Fourth is the fourth volume in the Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot.
I have blogged about Meg Cabot before. Click on the link here to read my thoughts.
You can visit the Princess Diaries website by clicking on the link, here.
The series charts the fortunes of Mia Thermopolis, a teenager who finds out, after her mother starts dating her algebra teacher, that her real father is the crown prince of Genovia, a European principality, much like Monaco in real life. This means that as well as dealing with the humiliation of her mother’s love life, she also has to come to terms with the fact that she is a princess, and her tyrannical grandmother is coming to New York to give her princess lessons.
The books are written as journal/diary extracts by Mia as she experiences the ups and downs of teenage life. They are amusingly written, and simple to read. Mia is a fresh and interesting character in the first book, simply titled: The Princess Diaries. Her struggles to find herself despite the demands placed upon her by her princess title, and her difficulties reconciling her more girly nature to her eco warrior tendencies are funny and thoughtful.
I can’t comment on the second and third volume in the series, as I have yet to read them, but this fourth volume falls a little flat.
Mia is in Genovia, missing her boyfriend and counting the days until she can go back to New York to meet him again. The entire book basically hinges around Mia’s insecurity and worries that a) she has no special talents, unlike her friends and b) she is essentially unloveable so how can she believe that her boyfriend loves her.
Mia is such an interesting character in the first book. Cabot kicks over the traces of the usual teen romance genre and brings us something fresh and interesting. Mia is not a doormat, or a weak character, and yet here, while she is quite happy to fight for the rights of Genovian sea turtles and defy her overbearing grandmother at every turn, she turns to jelly the minute the question of boys raises its ugly head.
I found this book so disappointing as it does a lot to undermine Mia’s character and reduces her to almost cartoonish status.
It has many of the same elements that make the first volume so good, but by now it is all getting a bit tired and stale.
I would recommend it to girls aged 12 and up. There are minor references to things like boobs and menstruation, but no real sexual content and nothing that would keep mothers awake at night worrying about suitability. This is definitely not a book that would appeal to boys.
If you already love Mia, you will probably forgive its faults, and adore it, plus the rest of the extensive series.