The Princess Diaries meets Nancy Drew in this middle grade novel about a New York foster kid who discovers she’s actually a long-lost princess—and must solve the mystery behind a threat to the crown.
Twelve-year-old Gen Sun has bounced around New York’s foster care system ever since her parents died in a car crash ten years ago. No one seems to know anything about her birth family, and the only link she has to them is a baby blanket embroidered with her name.
But that’s all right. Gen is savvy and self-reliant, using her keen sense of justice and her ability to go unnoticed to solve mysteries in her neighborhood. She’s in the middle of solving one such mystery when her life changes forever: suited strangers reveal that Gen is actually the long-lost princess of a small, obscure country overseas.
In no time, Gen is whisked away to the kingdom of Raldonia. But becoming a princess overnight isn’t easy, and Gen’s American ways and no-nonsense demeanor don’t exactly endear her to the royal court. Before long, there are whispers that a legendary curse has been awoken by Gen’s sudden appearance.
And when plague-like events start befall the small country, Gen realizes she’ll have to crack her biggest case yet: catching the culprit out to dethrone her. And who knows? She just might find her place in the kingdom along the way.
Evelyn Skye brings a blend of wit and adventure to this middle grade series that asks: what truly makes a princess? And what makes a home?
About the Author
Evelyn Skye is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including Damsel (also a Netflix film starring Millie Bobby Brown). Evelyn is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and daughter.
A bold orphan with a penchant for sleuthing learns that she is a long-lost princess in this clever tale by Skye (The Crown’s Game). Twelve-year-old Gen Sun, who is white and East Asian, grew up using her sharp mind and strong sense of justice to solve crimes while rotating between foster homes in N.Y.C. When secret agents from an obscure nation, Raldonia, claim that she is their missing princess, Gen is whisked away to the grand palace, where she must undergo princess training in order to rule one day. Rough-and-tumble Gen doesn’t believe she’s cut out for a standard princess gig, and clashes with her prim and proper grandmother, Queen Michelina. Soon, mysterious disasters begin plaguing the kingdom, and citizens blame Gen’s reemergence, sparking rumors of a long-feared Raldonian curse. But Gen knows foul play when she sees it: someone is out to dethrone her, and Gen will have to crack the case. Surprising plot twists, high emotional stakes, and vibrant characters coalesce into a royal series starter propelled by Gen’s take-charge narration, making for a solid addition to the kick-butt princess canon that’s just right for fans of The Princess Diaries. Ages 8–12. Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (May)- PW (Mar 30, 2023)
A scrappy girl sleuth finds out she’s royalty in this modern fairy tale that’s equal parts Annie and The Princess Diaries. Twelve-year-old Genevieve Sun’s life changes completely when she discovers she’s the long-lost princess of a tiny island nation in Western Europe. Raldonia turns out to be just as ethnically diverse as Gen’s beloved New York City, but the gap between her upbringing in the foster care system and her new life as a princess couldn’t be more different. Even more challenging than frivolous dresses and countless rules of etiquette is the curse that is somehow connected to Gen’s deceased parents’ escape to the U.S. Will Gen’s list of Good Detective Traits be enough for her to solve the mystery, save Raldonia, and prove once and for all that she’s got what it takes to be a princess? Led by a plucky multiethnic protagonist and full of whimsical details, this middle-grade debut by an acclaimed YA author is a delightful diversion with modern sensibilities. Plenty of red herrings, a dash of suspense, and a dastardly villain foiled at the eleventh hour culminate in a happy ending (as well as a hint at the mystery at the heart of Book 2). Quick-witted Gen has STEM skills in spades, especially when it comes to hacking (ethically, not nefariously, of course). The supporting characters are endearing even if their development is rather less robust. A fun, breezy, and charming modern princess tale. (Adventure. 8-12)- Kirkus (Mar 15, 2023)
Gen is just a scrappy foster kid bouncing around New York City up until one day, like Mia Thermopolis, she learns that she is actually royalty from a far-off island kingdom. Once her status as the long-thought-lost princess is confirmed, she is whisked away to the Kingdom of Raldonia to begin preparations for a royal coronation. Except—someone seems bent on her not ever wearing a crown on her head. Sounds like a job for Princess Private Eye! This captivating story follows the perspective of Gen, revealing all sorts of details about what is going on around her. It is broken up into small, easy-to-digest chapters; the mystery of her kingdom's blights (all of which are being attributed to her presence) unfolds slowly, without a rush. Gen is an excellent detective, taking the time to notice things about people and her surroundings, reviewing details to look for threads of truth, and apologizing when she comes to the wrong conclusions. As the first entry of a new series, more mysteries are sure to follow. —Kristina Pino- Booklist (Mar 15, 2023)