The False Princess - Eilis O'Neal At first, reading this book, I didn't think it was going to be anything spectacular. It does get off to a bit of a slow start, with a few clich├ęs thrown in. But as the plot picked up, I found I couldn't stop reading, and by the end, I didn't want it to be over.

The plot is kind of like Spindle's End turned inside-out. Instead of the perspective of the "common" girl who's secretly a princess, we get the reverse--a girl who thought she was a princess finds out she's a commoner, and has to adjust. While trying to fit in to her new, simpler life, she discovers she has magical powers, hidden for years by the same spell that made her appear to be princess. That's when things get interesting. Her magic is out of her control, and she's afraid it will come bursting out and harm someone if she doesn't figure out how to wield it, so she sets off back to the city to find someone to train her.

I'm a sucker for Figuring Out Your Place In The World narratives, and fortunately there are a lot of them in YA. While this isn't the best-written one I've read, it's thoroughly entertaining. The romance is delightful, the plot twists keep you turning pages until the end, and it even has a bit at the end about class issues, which I think was my favorite part. The narrative of "royal person lives as a commoner and understands what the common people are about so zie can be a better ruler" is not a new one, but it feels fresh here, and I couldn't help but think of America as it is right now, with the richest people having most of the power but no idea how bad it is for the rest of us. I mean, how many times do you read a light-hearted fairy tale that actually explores the concept of the working poor?

There are a few things I wish had been explored or fleshed out a bit more--Sinda's relationships with the king and queen, what life was like for her growing up as the princess, the idea that royal blood must rule even if the heir is not the best candidate for the throne--but it was a fun read anyway, and I'm interested in seeing what this author will write next.