The Barnes & Noble Review Meg Cabot continues the hilarious adventures of Mia Thermopolis, a very ordinary teenager whose life takes an extraordinary turn when she learns she's the heir apparent to the throne of a small European country. In this third installment of The Princess Diaries , Mia's self-deprecating wit, self-absorption, and adolescent angst are as entertaining as ever as she struggles with the realization that despite being a princess, she isn't guaranteed any fairy-tale endings.
Mia discovers yet another branch on the royal side of her family tree when she meets her cousin, Sebastiano, an up-and-coming fashion designer. Mia worries that Sebastiano might want her dead, since he's next in line to inherit the throne, she's not yet willing to toss him aside -- his dress creations are not only exquisite, they are perfectly tailored to bring out the best in Mia's flat-chested, big-footed physique. Life is looking better on other fronts as well, for Mia finally has a boyfriend. Unfortunately, it's Kenny, her study partner, good friend, and fellow classmate, whereas the real love of her life is Michael, the brother of Mia's best friend, Lilly. But not only does Michael seem clueless about Mia's affections; it looks like he has a girlfriend.
While bemoaning her inability to compete for Michael's affections, Mia spends her time trying to avoid Kenny's kisses, pondering the best way to break up with him even as she wonders why he hasn't asked her to the big Christmas dance. Adding to Mia's stresses are her upcoming final exams, her mother's incessant morning sickness, the usual unwanted media attention, and the ongoing torments of her fellow classmate and nemesis, Lana.
While Mia's sometimes simplistic view of life remains intact and her adolescent shallowness is often apparent, she also shows an evolving maturity as she prepares for her royal role under Grandmere's overbearing guidance. But never fear, the seriousness is kept in balance with plenty of fun, tons of laughs, and several amusing disasters. And, if Mia isn't careful, she might even get that fairy-tale ending. (Beth Amos)