A SECRET PRINCESS, by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, June 28, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
What if Mary Lennox and Sara Crewe ended up at boarding school together? Find out in A Secret Princess, by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz.
Best friends Mary Lennox, Sara Crewe, and Cedric Erroll are best friends. And thank goodness, since their boarding school is basically insufferable. When one of the friends suffers a personal tragedy, a plan — and a secret — change everything for the trio . . . for good. —Synopsis provided by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Reading this mashup was a mixture of cool and weird (which isn’t a bad thing).
It’s fun seeing these characters interact, and it truly feels as if Stohl and de la Cruz know their characters intimately. Each voice rings true, and actions and their actions are believable. The authors remained true to the source material while adeptly exploring their own story.
The weird comes when the storytellers diverge from the known path. They begin by taking you down a well-traveled trail, and just when you prepare yourself for a gentle curve, they take you off the route completely. While these changes are absolutely necessary, and well done, they often made me pause and wonder what made them decide to change “this” or “that.” These little pauses don’t ruin the flow, but do allow for some reflection.
The text throughout is smooth and inviting, which is a bonus because there are times when two authors work together, and you can tell who wrote what. That’s not the case here. Stohl and de la Cruz’s prose blends perfectly, making you forget that A Secret Princess is not the work of a lone writer.
If you’ve never read any of Burnett’s books (or watched the movies created from said books), A Secret Princess will be an enjoyable read. But it’s way more fun if you know the source material so you can celebrate the twists.
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