Let me start by stating that The Princess Diaries books (ten in total) are nothing like the movie. Or it should be the other way around of course: the movies are completely different from the books. Personally, I liked the movies better and that doesn’t happen to me often.
The basics of the story are the same of course: 14 year old Mia Thermopolis discovers she’s actually Princess Mia of Genovia. In the movies it’s because her father has died, but in the books he’s very much alive, if a bit of a playboy. Mia’s grandma, Queen Clarisse, is much nicer in the movies than in the books. The warm relationship between the two including the side story with Joseph is noticeably absent from the books.
Lily (one of my favorite characters in the movie) is there of course, though in the books the relationship between her and Mia is once again more strained than in the movies. Michael is also a character and in the books there’s an excruciatingly slow relationship developing between him and Mia.
Slow seems to be a bit of a theme in general in the books. I’ve read the first three books in the series and everything just sort of floats along. Mia is downright passive at times, things mostly happen to her. Teens may recognize this, but it did get a bit on my nerves. Then again, I’m not the primary intended audience 🙂
There’s romance and love in The Princess Diaries, crushes and friendships, heart breaks and betrayals, in short: all the stuff teen girls know from their own life. And there’s little questionable content in here: the language is clean and there’s no sex (so far). This makes the books also suitable for somewhat younger teens, unlike many of the other books in the Top 100 of Teen Fiction I’m reviewing my way through.
Would I recommend the Princess Diaries to teen girls? They’re certainly entertaining, so in that sense there’s no problem. But they are also very superficial and there’s little content worth discussing. If you’re looking for a book that will start good conversations with teen girls, you’d have to look elsewhere.