A hugely entertaining story about the “most radical princess since Leia”: it’s impossible not to love – and laugh out loud at – Princess BMX.
Avariella Petulia Winifred Pandora D’Allessandro is Princess of Biscotti and she is bored. She admits there are a few good things about being a Princess (like the endless supply of cupcakes) but mostly it’s so dull that Ava seriously considers locking herself in a tower and throwing away the key. Everything, however, changes the day she’s banned from joining her parents and brother at the Bubblegum Bazaar. Ava plans to spend the time sliding down the stairs on her potato sack but something even more exciting happens – she slips through a portal and finds herself in our world. Everything is very strange but it’s also thrilling, especially when Ava discovers something that is going to change her life forever – BMX!
I love so much about this book that it’s hard to know where to start. Perhaps with the concept? The ideas are simply inspired. Debut author, Marie Basting, turns fairy tales upside down with a magical kingdom being presented as normal and our world being seen as strange and mythical. It’s amazingly easy to accept everything about Ava’s world but the parts I enjoyed the most were when she enters ours. I couldn’t stop chuckling at Ava’s thought process and observations as she tries to find her way around London. For example, when she sees the sign to ‘King’s Cross’ she determinately sets out in search of the King of the realm who is bound to know her Mum and Dad.
The fairy tale setting also provides the opportunity for some truly wonderful characters. I suspect more than a few readers will fall in love with micro-unicorn, Doreen. I, however, preferred the fairy ‘Godfather’ and, my personal favourite, Kevin. (I’m going to be really mean and not tell you anything more about Kevin as I don’t want to spoil any moment you spend reading this engrossing story).
While I adore almost every idea in this book (okay, I adore EVERY idea), the thing that actually drew me in and made this book practically impossible to put down is Ava’s addictive first person voice. This is almost impossible to describe so I’m going to give you a brief taste:
“Oh my giddy goblin, I was drowning … drowning in a sea of candyfloss! I had to get out of there, I stumbled to the door. And I mean literally stumbled. Suddenly, I was on my knees, my palms pressing against a cold smooth surface. The fireplace – I’d tripped over the fireplace and landed on the hearth. I pushed myself up …That’s when I saw it: the mahoosive hole where the grate should have been.”
The plot itself is well constructed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ava’s attempts to fit in in our world and particularly savoured the description of the first time she eats pizza. However, the plot really becomes thrilling when Ava’s evil aunt returns to take over Biscotti and Ava charges to the rescue on her BMX. As her friend, Ethan observes, she really is the “most radical princess since Leia”.
If you enjoyed this and are looking for another out-of-this-world and laugh-out-loud story with a strong first person voice, I’d recommend you check out the wonderful Cosmic by Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Alternatively, if you’re looking for equally zany adventure, you won’t go wrong with Grandma Dangerous and the Dog of Destiny by Kita Mitchell.
Publication Date: August 2019
Publisher: Chicken House
Author’s website: Marie Basting