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I won a copy of Princess a while back, and I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I do not think I have read such a short book that took me on such a roller coaster ride, and boy it didn't have a dull moment. As you can see it's provided with a caution note on the synopsis, which I read that before reading the book and honestly I still didn't expect anything which it threw at me.
Princess really isn't your usual teen pregnancy book, in fact it isn't any kind of usual, I'd even go as far to say that some - if not the majority of the second half - of the book can be defined as f*cked up. Though certainly not the kind where you're left disappointed or annoyed; its exciting, fast paced and surprising too. The reason I didn't give this a full five stars was because I did feel some elements were over the top, or unbelievable but once you suspend your belief, which to be honest I'm sure a lot of us do whilst reading, it really doesn't effect the story.
Sydney is from a wealthy and neglecting family, her mother only cares about what she is eating - got to maintain that slimming image for the world - and her father is far too busy being a senator to get much of a mention towards the start of the book. However, once she gets pregnant it all changes, both her parents engulf her but not with care, instead with well ...threats I guess? Basically she can't stay pregnant, and has to get an abortion to maintain their perfect family image. Even her boyfriend and his family are backing her parents decision but Sydney is having none of it and after a final push and shove from her mother she is out with a small amount of clothes that may be suitable for pregnancy, all funding cancelled or withheld from her apart from the small change in her purse, and driving to see her distant cousin she's never met and only spoke to briefly on the phone. So much for maintaining their perfect family image huh?
Stephen, her distant cousin, lives in a rough area of town and doesn't have much of an income but he takes her in a provides a roof over her head and she starts to work. The story then flashes forward to a point when Sydney is heavily pregnant - pretty sure she is still working at this point because from what I recall there is a mention how she gets tips because people empathise towards her for being pregnant and working on her feet all day - and her relationship with Stephen has grown. I know what you're thinking, this still sounds like a pretty normal teen pregnancy storyline but this is where things get a kick, or should I say crash? into wacky. I'll try and sum up these main points of the story a little shorter and not give too much away.
First up, Sydney is in a hit and run "accident" and looses her child, her parents "get rid" of the dead child before Sydney even wakes up from the accident and Stephen is there holding her hand and caring for her every step of the way. Sydney receives a few odd text messages / calls from various people for various reasons that add to the plots roller coaster, she's stalked by the car that hit her and eventually taken captive, with the young boy who lives next door and tried to save her. We find out who her kidnapper is, who the "genius" behind the whole she-bang is and for what reasons too. I'm not going to expand on this further because like I said it surprised me and not many books do that because my brain simply does not turn off, but this book succeeded and I think that's because of how quickly (don't forget its only 178 pages) it turns left and right and loop-de-loops.
Oh I should probably note that my mention of Stephen and Sydney's relationship growing is important because they do eventually become an item (this isn't a spoiler, its obvious from their first meeting) and yes they are distant cousins, I've read a few reviews where this has been a major no-no for that reader and whilst for me that would be a major no-no in real life (and this is just a story, trust me you wouldn't want any of this to be real!), it just doesn't seem wrong for this story, you read it and it makes sense. He's the first person to love her for truly her and not for who she is supposed to be or for what family she comes from. Its kinda cute.