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The Princess Diaries is a Young Adult book series by Meg Cabot following the exploits of Amelia "Mia" Thermopolis, a teenager who goes to Albert Einstein High School and lives with her strongly liberal single mom. Her life changes drastically when her father comes for a visit. After being treated for testicular cancer, he is no longer able to have children. Because of this, he finally tells Mia a secret he, her mother, and her grandmother ("Grandmere") have been keeping from her for years: he is really the Prince of the fictional country of Genovia. Because of his illness and treatment, Mia is now Her Royal Highness of the country and the heir to the throne of Genovia.
Upon first hearing the news, Mia objects to the idea of having to become a princess and having to rule over Genovia. She also fears that this new status will make her an outcast as her school and would rather just be a normal teenager. The series follows Mia as she slowly adjusts to becoming a Princess and coming to terms with the idea of being a ruler.
In 2001, the first book was adapted into a movie starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. It was followed by a sequel in 2004, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. Both movies have a large number of changes from the novels, with the second not resembling any plot point of any of the books.
Tropes in the books include:
- Adaptation Decay: The movies are referenced humorously as In-Universe examples. Almost every time they come up in the books, Mia makes a snide remark about how horribly they portray her life.
- All Love Is Unrequited: In book 5, Boris towards Lily. Also, Lily towards JP.
- All Psychology Is Freudian: Averted, Lily's parents are Jungian Psychiatrists and Mia tries for years to achieve self-actualisation.
- Alpha Bitch: Lana Weinberger.
- Ambiguous Gender: Poor, poor Perin.
- Arab Oil Sheikh: Tina's father.
- Big No: Mia has a couple moments of these. Usually involving Grandmere.
- Blatant Lies: Lana's election speech in book 6 is full of these- in essence, she tells the crowd that she'll get them exactly what they want, despite the fact that, as Mia knows, it'd be impossible to get it (and in some cases, getting it would be totally unfair on others).
- Changeling Fantasy: Mia discovers that she's the princess of Genovia. Deconstructed, as it turns out to be a lot less fun than one might expect.
- Character Overlap: One of the novels has Mia reference Sam from All-American Girl and Jess from 1-800-Where-R-U, two of Meg Cabot's other works.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The Guy Who Hates It When They Put Corn In The Chili, JP Reynolds-Abernathy the Fourth ends up becoming Mia's boyfriend after she and Michael break up in the eighth book.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Tina is this sometimes. Mia comments several times that she "wonders what it's like in Tinaland. Everything must be very shiny there."
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Grandmere to almost everyone else.
- Derailing Love Interests: JP in the last book.
- Diary: A fictional example.
- Dork Horse Candidate: Mia, and later, Lilly.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Subverted, more often than not Mia thinks her life would be much better if she wasn't a princess.
Mia: (In her diary) Being royal loses a lot of its glamor once it actually happens to you.
- Evil Matriarch: Grandmere. Is also a Cool Old Lady at times, as well as a Magnificent Bitch.
- First Boy Wins Out of all her potential love interests throughout the series, Michael was not only the first one she met, but the first one she had a crush on.
- Game of Nerds: viz., Michael's game.
- Geeks, Nerds
- Genius Ditz: Tina.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In universe. Lilly Tells It Like It Is wound up being very popular in Korea.
- Grande Dame: Mia's grandmother.
- Granola Girl: Mia is a vegetarian and often gives donations to Greenpeace.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: JP. Mia doesn't want to date him because she just broke up with her long-time boyfriend. An article in the New York Post saying they should get together because they're both "so tall and blond" doesn't exactly help. Also, everyone thinks he's the perfect guy for her.
- And a year and a half after she finally decides to date him, Michael comes back from Japan. Mia still has feelings for him. Tina can tell, and constantly pesters her about it.
- Hide Your Lesbians: Perin and Ling Su.
- Though Ling Su is mentioned to have a boyfriend in the first couple of books (though he's never mentioned again in later ones). Hide your bisexuals, maybe?
- I Just Want to Be Normal: For most of the series Mia wants to just go back to her old life.
- Insufferable Genius: Lily.
- Ivy League for Everyone: Somewhat justified, as the series takes place at an upper class private school in New York.
- And even then most don't get their first choice college and as Lana points out she (and perhaps some other students) have parents who are legacies.
- In the election debate in book 6, Lana promises to get everyone into Ivy League schools if they elect her. Part of Mia's reaction and response is pointing out that nobody is guaranteed entrance to an Ivy League school, even if they had parents who went there.
- Jerk Jock: Josh Richter.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Lana after she changes her attitude towards Mia.
- Love Triangle
- Love Dodecahedron, as of Book 6 or so.
- The Makeover: Subverted in that Mia thinks her makeover makes her look worse, and after a while she goes back to looking like she normally does ("like a blonde Q-tip") and her looks aren't brought up very often after that.
- Micro Monarchy: Genovia.
- Mr. Muffykins: Grandmere's poodle Rommel is a mix of type one and two of this trope.
- Nerds Are Sexy
- The Nose Knows: Mia frequently comments that she loves the smell of Michael's neck. In the last book, she realizes that there's a scientific explanation for it during her psychology exam.
- Numbered Sequels - The UK versions of series have fun with this; the sequels are called The Princess Diaries: Take Two, The Princess Diaries: Third Time Lucky, The Princess Diaries: Mia Goes Fourth, The Princess Diaries: Give Me Five, The Princess Diaries: Sixsational, The Princess Diaries: Seventh Heaven, The Princess Diaries: After Eight, The Princess Diaries: To the Nines and The Princess Diaries: Ten Out of Ten.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The Guy Who Hates It When They Put Corn In The Chili. It's revealed late in the series that his name is JP.
- Ordinary High School Student
- Perverse Sexual Lust: More than once Mia's friends tease her about her weird love for two-dimensional guys, including "Hellboy, Tarzan, the Beast, and that hot soldier guy".
- Pettanko: Mia.
- Pinocchio Nose: Mia's nostrils flare when she lies.
- Quirky Curls: Mia started out with them but her make-over flat-ironed them away.
- Race For Your Love: Subverted. Mia races to the airport to meet Michael before his plane leaves for Japan. She's too late - his flight has left.
- Real Women Never Wear Dresses: In-universe: Mia spends a couple of pages wangsting about how her grandmother took her to an expensive hairdresser. Same goes for painted nails. To be fair, part of her complaints are that they make her look like Lana.
- In the last book when Mia's trying to publish the romance novel she wrote many people fuss over the fact it's a romance novel. Never mind that it's 400 pages long, she did tons of research on medieval times, she spent two years working on it, and it's actually one of the hardest genres to write well.
- Rich Bitch: Lana and Trisha. They both get better.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Fat Louie.
- Rousing Speech: Mia gives two. One when she's running against Lana for the post of student body president, and another when she gets invited to speak at a Domina Rei function.
- She Is All Grown Up: Boris, who actually manages to turn hot later in the series.
- Shipper on Deck: Tina tends to ship her friends, especially Mia.
- Shout-Out: Several, including Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Degrassi, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and Sailor Moon.
- Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Only in the first book.
- Straw Feminist: LILY. To the point where she writes an "essay" about famous women she is jealous of and why they should all go away to a desert island for being beautiful. Kiera Knightly and Halle Berry are some of the actresses on this list.
- Sympathetic POV: Some of Mia's actions look a lot less sympathetic once you hear Lana and Lilly's side of the story.
- The Snark Knight: Lily, so, so much.
- The Talk
- Their First Time: In the later books, Mia and Michael plan for this, but it is called off by Mia when it turns out it ISN'T his first time.
- Transsexual: Ronnie, Mia's neighbor
- Unreliable Narrator: Mia, while she doesn't mean to lie in her diary she often has memory lapses, a rose-tinted or melodramatic reaction to what is going on around her and often completely misinterprets peoples motives.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Tina, whenever romance is involved. Subverted a bit when Tina reveals to Mia that she's been sleeping with Boris regularly for about a year or so, but she still has an overly idealistic attitude about love.
- Mia can also be like this when romance is involved, as pointed out by her parents.