Undercover princess by Connie Glynn
Rosewood Chronicles book 1. Penguin, 2017. ISBN 9780141387567
(Age: 11-14) Themes: Fantasy. Boarding school. Princesses. Connie Glynn's debut novel Undercover princess takes inspiration from her love of Disney princesses and their stories. She shares this on her popular Noodlerella vlog and YouTube channel. This fantasy adventure story uses recognisable Young Adult literary tropes, well-known character types and settings, typical plot points and twists, and the prescient struggle of good and evil. Her familiar settings include an elite boarding school with its secret magical qualities and the old bakery where the orphan protagonist lives with her uncaring stepmother. Of course, there is a defiant princess from the magical kingdom of Maradova, who rebels against her royal destiny allowing Lottie to fulfil her dream of being a princess.
Lottie Pumpkin has studied incredibly hard to win a bursary to prestigious Rosewood Hall in spite of her difficult home life. Before her death, Lottie's mother has instilled in her a sense of self worth, with the mantra "I will be kind, I will be brave, I will be unstoppable." Meanwhile Princess Eleanor (Ellie) Wolfson of Maradova, finally has been allowed to leave her own country and attend the same school, in fact she is Lottie's roommate. Following a huge mix-up, Lottie takes on her royal role allowing Ellie to enjoy a normal life. There are the familiar highs and low of school life, friendships, bullying, secret messages to solve, as well as a quick trip to Maradova for Lottie to take on the role of portman, or undercover princess.
The text ranges from simplistic to extremely expressive, while the characters need more depth and back-story. Several scenes are somewhat confronting and more suited to a teen audience. This novel is the first in the Rosewood Chronicles series written for young teen fans that enjoy the fantasy genre.