Themes of friendship, caring, and courage are common to both the mystery and the graphic novel sections of this enthralling young adult novel. Pre-teens, May and Libby, ignore their differences and begin a lasting friendship when they create the world of Princess X. May thinks up the stories, Libby draws the pictures, and Princess X, with her katana sword, fights all manner of monsters, ghosts, and creepy characters from her haunted house on the hill. The girls’ world revolves around their stories until they are teens.
Then, Libby is gone, and May is left to be lonely. She misses both her best friend and Princess X. Until—three years later, May starts finding stickers, memorabilia, and finally a new popular website devoted to the story of Princess X. May is determined to find out how her old stories and perhaps Libby have somehow reappeared.
With the help of some new unconventional friends and a whole lot of courage, May looks for the clues she needs to solve her mystery. It takes some Jason Bourne-like dangerous snooping and some genius Mission Impossible computer hacking, all for the cause, a cause which turns out to be of life and death importance.
Readers fourteen and up will enjoy the action in the story and the clever way clues are left in the fantasy graphic art. Readers should be old enough to discern that the dangerous and illegal activities in the story are there for tension and suspense and require a suspension of disbelief.
Cherie Priest’s first foray into young adult literature is a success with this thriller/graphic novel/friendship story.
Reviewed by Joyce Ann Brown, January 2016.
Author of cozy mysteries: Catastrophic Connections and Furtive Investigation, the first two Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mysteries.