Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
This week's book is one based on a fairy tale I'm sure is pretty familiar, but this is no average Sleeping Beauty story. Princess Benevolence has lives a fairly spoiled life, or she does until the tragic accident that leaves her the unprepared heir to the throne. Suddenly she's swept away by her aunt for a crash course in being royal and all the things that go with it. She now has lessons and must follow rules of etiquette and, most annoyingly, must look the part of the willowy graceful princess. But when she finds a hidden wizard's room she takes matters into her own hands. A series of hardships and adventures follow, and she learns a lot more than a few spells in the end.
I have to admit that at the beginning I didn't think this was a book I would review, or possibly even finish. Ben is a hard character to like at the start, which is oddly enough one of the reasons I ended up appreciating the book at the end. She's fairly realistic for a fairy tale princess - it really does get hard to imagine that out of all the privileges girls in these stories that there isn't even one that didn't end up a bit of a spoiled brat. She had potential, though, which kept me reading long enough to see the beginnings of her transformation, by which point I was honestly wanting to know how her story ended. The change is gradual and and I like that about it. There is no singular moment that changes her personality to one that could successfully run a kingdom, rather it's a series of little things that make her just a bit better as a person.
In addition to the more realistic character growth, there were a handful of other moments I enjoyed. Some were funny, some made me cheer. I will say that everyone should enjoy the moment when the prince comes to kiss the princess awake. I also like the fact that Ben has a fuller figure than the other princesses you read about, and that she is more than happy with how she looks. It makes her a decent role model despite her spoiled attitude.