The Princess Diaries series was one of the first colossal YA success stories. Before the likes of John Green became crossover hits, when the young adult section of the book store was widely ignored by the masses, there was Mia Thermopolis, a nerdy girl from New York City who, at 14-years-old, found out she was born a princess.
“I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since the last book—and fifteen years since the first book was published! A lot has changed since then, but not enthusiasm for stories about average girls who find empowerment by suddenly becoming royalty!” Cabot says.
And it’s clear that fans of the series feel the same way.
“Readers have continued to ask how Mia is doing even after all these years,” Cabot says. “And I sort of couldn’t resist wondering myself with the 15th anniversary of the first book occurring this year…so voila! This is what happened. Not just one book, but two!”
One of those two books is Royal Wedding, an adult sequel to the series, in which Mia has just turned 26-years-old, is newly engaged to long-time love Michael Moscovitz and is dealing with her usual plethora of drama. The biggest one of all? It is revealed that Mia has a half-sister, hidden from her and the family by her father for the past 12 years, leading to Cabot’s second new book, From the Notebooks of Middle School Princess, the first in a new middle grade series.
“Notebooks is a very special book for me, not only because it allowed me to follow a dream I’ve had since I was a kid—no, not of turning out to be a princess myself, but of illustrating one of my own books! I was an art major in college,” Cabot says. “But also because it introduces a new character to the royal family of Genovia: Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison, Princess Mia’s half-sister, who has been living for the past twelve years in New Jersey, totally unaware of her royal heritage. This is a fun new book for younger readers, aged 8 and up, with illustrations—did I mention the illustrations? By me!”
Both books will follow the diary entry format of the original series which is just one way that Cabot has catered to the nostalgic set.
“Mia still writes in her diary, or “journals,” as she now calls it, under doctor’s orders, for stress relief,” Cabot says. “And the family tradition continues with her little sister, Olivia, who has inherited her love of writing, but also a love of doodling, which readers might be surprised to learn comes from their grandmother.”
Their Grandmére, is of course a presence in Royal Wedding, as are most of your favorites from Mia’s teenage years; Michael, her best friends Lily and Tina, her mother, her little half brother Rocky, Perin, Ling Su, and even frenemy Lana Weinberger are all mentioned within the first few pages.
Cabot’s excitement for the continuation of the series shines through as she tackles the fickle beast of nostalgia, keeping the perfect balance between telling a new story and recapturing the spirit of what made Mia such a fan favorite in the first place.
So, how much has Mia herself changed since we last saw her? Readers will be pleased to know that she is still our beloved, beleaguered princess, only a bit older, a bit wiser.
“Well, at 26, Mia definitely isn’t a teenager anymore,” Cabot says. “She has her own apartment, career goals, and romantic troubles (and triumphs!) just like most girls (and guys) her age, only with a tiara thrown in. Making sure that readers would recognize her as the same girl she was 7 years ago, but also make her seem 7 years older, was a challenge, but one I thoroughly enjoyed.”
But did Cabot feel any pressure at living up to the expectations of loyal fans, those readers who have grown up right alongside Mia?
“I didn’t have any reservations because Mia has transitioned into adulthood like any millennial and shares many of their same concerns. She wants to know what her place is in this world, and how she can leave it a better place than she found it,” she says. “The only difference is that she’s thwarted at almost every turn by an antiquated parliament, and her insane family, and has to do it all while being hounded by paparazzi, picked apart on social media, stalked by weirdos, and getting married on live television in front of a billion people!”
So, with a new job, a new fiancé, a new little sister and a couple of other big (and we mean, really, really big) surprises in store for Mia, will there be another installment in the tales of her adult life?
“There will definitely be a second book in the Middle School Princess series. With illustrations! As for continuing Michael and Mia’s story, we’ll see. I’m thinking the signs are pointing to yes!” Cabot says.
As for revisiting other fan favorites like Sam and David from Cabot’s All-American Girl duology, she’s staying mum. Though she is quick to point out that she has another adult sequel to her The Mediator series, also originally YA, coming out in February 2016. In the meantime, though, Cabot is celebrating Mia and Michael’s nuptials the best way she knows how.
“I’ll be on a book tour this summer. I can’t wait to meet readers at signings all around the country and the world, since I’ll be in Brazil, as well [and] I’ll have lots of new projects keeping me busy [so] stay tuned! I’m sure you’ll be able to find me. I’ll be the one in the tiara.”
See more from Lydia Magazine’s Summer 2015 issue below!