Friday, December 28, 2012

Review of The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

The Princesses of Iowa
What does it mean to do wrong, when no one punishes you? A smart and unflinching look at friendship, the nature of entitlement, and growing up in the heartland.

Paige Sheridan has the perfect life. She's pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a night of partying ends in an it-could-have-been-so-much worse crash, everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot is her creative writing class, led by a charismatic new teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this arresting and witty debut, a girl who was once high-school royalty must face a truth that money and status can't fix, and choose between living the privileged life of a princess, or owning up to her mistakes and giving up everything she once held dear.

(Summary from GoodReads)

I initially wasn’t really sure if I wanted to read The Princesses of Iowa.  Some of the reviews seemed lukewarm, but when Kelly mentioned how lovely the writing was, I knew I had to give it a shot.  Unfortunately, the writing was the only thing I really loved about this book.

Aside from the car accident she was in last spring, Paige Sheridan leads a charmed a life.  I did not particularly care for Paige.  While I connected with her desire to heal through writing, she was just meh for me.  In general, I found the characters well crafted, but not people I especially related to. I liked two of the characters in Paige’s writing class, but no longer remember their names because I read this book in August.

The plot of The Princess of Iowa falls pretty flat.  2012 has brought us some long contemporaries, and Backes’s novel clocks in at over 400 pages.  The plot wasn’t boring, and it was well-paced enough.  However, the conclusion of this novel was excessively preachy and not believable.

Backes’s writing had some lovely moments .  I wouldn’t say it’s like Daughter of Smoke and Bone, where lovely prose surrounds you with every prose you turns. Instead, I felt as though the brilliant writing occurred in spurts when I was least expecting it, at quiet points in the novel.

I can’t help but think of what The Princesses of Iowa could have been.  If the plot had been as good as Backes’s writing, I think it would have been a better experience for me.  I’ll check out whatever Backes’s publishes next and hope that I enjoy it more.

Other reviews: 

1 comment:

  1. I really loved that this was based in Iowa! I was born in Iowa, but moved to Texas when I was 6. I have many lovely memories of Iowa. It is a very beautiful state!

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