Princess Callie and the Totally Amazing Talking Tiara by Daisy Piper
Downloaded this one because it was free on Amazon, and this is one of those times when I was glad that BookBub had tipped me off about it. I have to admit I was more than halfway sold by the cover and the title. Loved that pink cover! And who could say no to a "Totally Amazing Talking Tiara"!
So, who is Princess Callie? Callie is a girl who discovers that she is a princess on her 12th birthday. Her mother died a little over a year ago (maybe it was two?) and it's just been she and her dad, and more recently her dad's girlfriend. Callie is not so sure about the girlfriend, though. She doesn't like thinking her dad is replacing her mom. So, she does what a lot of kids do, which is to ignore the girlfriend and get on with her life. Her best friend is Lewis and he's really smart and very logical. The classroom bully is Wanda. She's not so much the kind of bully who beats up people as she is a snitch who needs to be paid off because she can sniff out a playground misdemeanor at 100 yards.
Callie doesn't know she's a princess until her cereal starts sending her messages the morning of her birthday, before school. That wigs her out a little, to say the least. She's not able to let her BFF Lewis know, and her dad has told her he's got a surprise for her for her birthday! And then a mystery package arrives for her in the middle of math class! What's a 12 year old to do with all this stuff going on? I really enjoyed this story. Yes, it is one more story in a plethora of stories about a kid hitting their tweens and suddenly discovering they are special and being introduced to a new world, but that's still a fun story to tell. And I do enjoy this retelling of that particular type of story.
Without going too much into the story, some of the things I enjoyed was that 1) this was an upbeat story. Nothing too heavy. Yes, the author deals with Callie's lingering sadness over losing her mother, and there are wicked people that Callie, Wanda and Lewis encounter, but it's deftly kept light without going saccharine. Callie and Lewis are fun to follow and the reader is given a good back story with Wanda (which I think will be explored in later books). 2) We get to meet more of Callie's family and there are lots of secrets and special devices and treasures that she and Lewis get to find and use. 3) While you know there are more stories to come, this was a full story, a full book, with a complete arc and story line all its own.
Two of the things I wasn't so sure about - 1) Lewis disappeared a bit too much for me. I wanted him around more. There was some explanation for when he was "off stage" but sometimes there wasn't and it bugged me. He is Callie's BFF after all. 2) (this is a big one for me) Callie's dad's self-involvement at thinking announcing his engagement to Callie on her 12th birthday is a good thing. I know parents, and most of the parents I know wouldn't be that selfish. They would let the kid have their birthday and make "special" announcements to the kid on a regular day. Getting remarried is a big deal. You'd think an adult would understand how that might upset their child and how the emotions would be escalated if such an announcement were made on a special day - like a holiday or birthday. So, either he's the Densest Dad on the Planet and the writer wants us to view him that way, or the writer doesn't know parents. Because she even has the future stepmom trying to go all logical and lawyerly and guilt Callie into accepting it all right now. I am HOPING that what this means is that the writer is setting up the story for a future evil stepmom, who might be an agent of evil, and who wants to make Callie's life miserable and take over her father's life. So, I'm hoping that's what the writer is meaning to do. Otherwise, she's painting a pretty selfish picture of the adults in Callie's life.
Outside of that, it was a fun read. Like I said - there is action, adventure, violence, and even a horrific death scene, but I think it's handled well. I love the talking tiara and meeting Callie's grandmother and learning about Callie's mother. I think I might really want to follow along in the series and see how Callie is able to cope at being a princess.