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Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Prince and the Dressmaker” by Jen Wang

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+ Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUTParis, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

 

My Review:
What took me so long to read this book?! It’s so good! The Prince and the Dressmaker is a stunningly painful representation of gender identity, familial pressure, and self-love. Add in the romantic fairy tale atmosphere and charming illustrations and you have one powerful and incredible story.

I have no personal experience with what Sebastian is going through but his feelings – the horror-struck, panicked facial expressions at being exposed, the profound sadness of feeling out of place in his own skin – felt intensely real. The pressure to find a wife and become king and live up to society’s expectation gives him anxiety. He doesn’t want to fail his parents but can’t full commit to someone who may not be okay with the real Sebastian.

I could feel Sebastian’s emotions through the illustrations. I could somewhat understand that feeling of bottling up one’s emotions. The fear of failure. These are real things real people are experiencing.

Frances is a dreamer. She wants her work recognized but isn’t able to being the secret designer behind the secret Lady Crystallia. I connected with France on some level Frances doesn’t want to live in the shadows anymore. She’s got real talent and wants to share her passion with the world.

I loved how kind and accepting Frances was about Sebastian’s secret. Some aren’t as fortunate to have someone like Frances in their life, which is sad.

While I loved the art I couldn’t stop thinking about how everyone looked like they were flushed or had a fever or were sleep deprived. It was very distracting.

I can’t say enough good things about The Prince and the Dressmaker. It’s one of the best books I read this year. I highly recommend this delightful and honest book.

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