{Review} PRINCE IN DISGUISE by Stephanie Kate Strohm -- A Perfect Holiday Read!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    TEARS COURSED DOWN my face as I tried to fight through the pain. There was no escape. I had gotten myself into this mess, and I could see no way out but through.
    "You've only got sixty seconds, Dylan! And you've used up thirty of them crying!"
    My best friend, Heaven, kept her eyes glued to one of her dad's eight thousand stopwatches--perks of being a PE teacher's daughter, I guess--as I shoved the sixth and final cracker in my mouth. Who knew the saltine, a cracker so innocuously bland it was only eaten by people with stomach viruses, could be transformed into a weapon of mass destruction?

(Page 1, US hardcover edition)

This review was first posted at A Backwards Story on December 20, 2017 
and has been modified, updated, and reposted today.

“I had a feeling that when I got back to Tupelo, none of this would seem real. I would miss Jamie a lot, but with the same ache of sadness that I’d felt when I’d never gotten my Hogwarts letter. That peculiar grief that comes from missing something that you knew you couldn’t have. The end was approaching, and its inexorable pull was palpable.”

Re-designed paperback edition!
This is the time of year where I want to dig out all of my books that take place during the holidays, stack them up on my nightstand, and dive right in.

(Ignore the redesigned cover [see left] that no longer gives the book a holiday vibe. Take a look instead at the original cover [above] and tell me it doesn't want you to grab a cozy blanket, some cocoa, and read this one in front of the fireplace!)

Last year, I was really taken with surprise when I read PRINCE IN DISGUISE by Stephanie Kate Strohm. It was cute. Really, really cute! I'd never heard about the book until I stumbled into a social media conversation about how much a few people were enjoying it. I decided to give it a try, even though contemporary isn't always my thing--and I'm so glad I did!

There are a lot of tropes throughout PRINCE IN DISGUISE, but they're really fun ones! I never rolled my eyes at anything being overdone or overdramatic, even though things could have spun that way fast. The level was just right, and, honestly? I enjoyed PRINCE IN DISGUISE so much that I ran to look up what else Strohm has written so that I can dive into another book by her very soon! (And lucky us -- she just had a new book, LOVE Á LA MODE, come out last week! So you have NO wait time for a new book! Look for my review soon!)

Set in Scotland over winter break, the novel follows Dylan as she gets swept up into the drama of her older sister Dusty's crazy wedding. Because of course, Dusty being Dusty, she can never do anything halfway. The former Miss Mississippi had entered a reality TV show, never realizing she was about to meet and fall in love with a lord disguised as commonfolk. The two are about to get married, and the Network wants to take its show Prince in Disguise up a notch by televising their wedding. Dylan wants absolutely nothing to do with the show or being in TV, but has no choice in the matter. What fun is going to a foreign country like Scotland when you're surrounded by wedding planning? And why did Dusty have to get married on Christmas when Dylan had off from school and could have been doing all sorts of things at home? Her sentence in Scotland gets a little nicer when she meets a guy named Jamie. But how can she have her first crush with all these cameras centered on her every step?

Jamie is such a fantastic character, and even though he's full of winks and nods designed to hit a reader's fancy and endear him to them...well, it works, so....! There are definitely some tropes at play, but you can't help but swoon whenever Jamie is on the page. And Jamie and Dylan are so adorable and dorky and sweet and awkward together. They're thrown together and trying to explore their friendship---and maybe something more--among a mess of cameras with no privacy to think about things. But whenever these two are together, the story comes alive and the pages flew by.

While PRINCE IN DISGUISE is definitely a "wish fulfillment" style novel, it does its job perfectly, and the result is a book that's absolutely perfect to read this holiday season! It will warm your heart and keep a smile permanently on your face!


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( kissing )
Language: G ( One damn )
Violence: --
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:


It's cute! And illustrated! I love illustrated covers.

The theme is perfect for this time of year and will find readers looking to cuddle up with something fun to read while they warm up!


I miss the winter vibes of the original cover. I get that it matches the new book and gives the author's covers a cohesive style. I get that it makes readers more likely to pick this one up throughout the year. But the original cover made me want to read it during the cozy winter months, and it takes place over Christmas break, so I do miss it!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Stephanie Kate Strohm
Release Date: December 19, 2017
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Received: For Review


Someday I want to live in a place where I never hear “You’re Dusty’s sister?” ever again. 

Life is real enough for Dylan—especially as the ordinary younger sister of Dusty, former Miss Mississippi and the most perfect, popular girl in Tupelo. But when Dusty wins the hand of the handsome Scottish laird-to-be Ronan on the TRC television network’s crown jewel, Prince in Disguise, Dylan has to face a different kind of reality: reality TV. 

As the camera crew whisks them off to Scotland to film the lead-up to the wedding, camera-shy Dylan is front and center as Dusty’s maid of honor. The producers are full of surprises—including old family secrets, long-lost relatives, and a hostile future mother-in-law who thinks Dusty and Dylan’s family isn’t good enough for her only son. At least there’s Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsman who might just be the perfect antidote to all Dylan’s stress . . . if she just can keep TRC from turning her into the next reality show sensation.