Finding Prince Charming, by Jessica L. Elliot.
This book is the second in the Charming Academy Series, and is about Princess Allegra and her quest to find Adrian, who disappeared during their fourth year at school. Allegra is more than a little worried about being the one going questing, but she will do anything to find Adrian.
(*Spoilers for the first book are included, and foreshadowing for this and following books are included, sorry.*)
Some things that we know about Allegra, just to give some perspective on where we are:
- Allegra is Lucian’s sister.
- She is stubborn and determined and fiercely loyal but lets her doubts rule sometimes.
- Has a close relationship with her parents, grandparents, friends from school, and her brother especially.
- Was the year behind her prince’s year, and so her last year of schooling is just her and Clarissa at school because her older friends are already on their quests.
- Has a special necklace from Adrian the night he disappeared.
- Flew into a rage and didn’t forgive people for a long time after Adrian’s disappearance, she loved him and needed to blame something.
- Gets some lovely classes to help prepare her to do the searching for Adrian on her quest.
- Loves Adrian lots and vowed to do anything to find him again.
- Is deathly terrified of frogs.
Some basic knowledge of Adrian:
- Is Lucian’s best friend.
- Has a rocky family relationship that is resolved before he disappears.
- Never broke any rules, was cursed for sticking out his tongue at friends by Lucretia, one of the school witches.
- Doesn’t like swimming.
- Is incredibly loyal and kind.
- Starts to shrink, loose hair, go into hibernation in cold weather, and so forth as he turns into a frog slowly.
- Goes and makes a deal with the witches the night before the winter meeting with the princesses in his fourth year so that he can look normal.
- Gave Allegra her special necklace to remember him by.
- His last words to Allegra an instant before he disappeared were that he loves her.
- Is transported to Lucian and Allegra’s family’s castle by the sea as a frog to wait for Allegra to come find him.
- Is heartbroken when Allegra sees him and runs away because he is a frog.
- Gets to wait around as a frog, of all things, for Allegra to come save him.
In this book, Allegra gets to go questing for Adrian, the opposite of what she’d always believed would happen. She takes new classes her last two years of school to prepare her for the dangers of searching, along with learning the finer points of becoming a lady. Adrian gets to face the dangers of life as a frog, which can become incredibly difficult, especially in a fairytale quest where someone may be out to ruin said frog’s happily ever after.
I enjoyed this book a lot. It addressed the fact that the girls can do the questing and face just as many trials while waiting, which Adrian showed well. This was a fun and lighthearted twist on the Princess and the Frog that was action packed and serious enough to make it a good read for middle school kids. I also enjoyed the number of outside forces that affect this couple’s fairytale, but no dragons. This was kind of nice, to show that there are more dangers in the world than those that are just the biggest and most threatening at a glance.