Clever YA Mystery

I Am Princess X - Cherie Priest

I don't read much YA fiction, as I'm way past the target age group. However, I thoroughly enjoy Cherie Priest's books, so I was glad of the opportunity to review this one.

May and Libby become an unlikely pair of best friends in a Seattle elementary school. Together, they invent Princess X, with May coming up with the stories and Libby putting her drawing talent to work creating the pictures. They have notebooks jammed full of the Princess's adventures.

Then Libby and her other are killed in a car accident. May's parents divorce, and she's shuttling back and forth between her mom's place in Georgia and her dad's in Seattle. Three years after Libby dies, suddenly there are Princess X stickers, jacket patches, and more showing up all over Seattle ... and May knows that only her friend could be doing it. With apartment neighbor Patrick (a computer whiz), she starts looking into the mystery.

The plot was tightly constructed and clever. Unlike many YA books, the heroine (May) is not some perfectly gorgeous cheerleader type. She's the very smart girl-next-door type, and she uses her intelligence to work things out.

Priest puts in social media references that teenaged readers are sure to get, like Reddit, Instagram, "web comic," and more. This is a YA mystery for today's kids. I enjoyed it.