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Book Review | The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

From the publisher: 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?

Prince Sebastian recruits expert dressmaker Frances to design and sew dresses for him. The two become fast friends and go on all sorts of adventures together. The tradeoff is simple: she gets to design the dresses she wants, and he gets to wear the dresses he wants. There are only two problems with this set-up, though:

  • when he wears dresses, Sebastian becomes Lady Crystallia, a fact that only Frances and Sebastian’s bodyguard know
  • Sebastian’s secret means that Frances doesn’t get the recognition she deserves for being the designer of Lady Crystallia’s stunning dresses.

Frances dreams of being a famous designer— something she can’t be when she’s a secret to protect someone else’s secret— and Sebastian’s two life juggling act becomes a lot to handle as Lady Crystallia becomes more famous. The two must decide what is really important, and sometimes that means making sacrifices.

This one is for readers who want their heart to swell, shatter, and be patched together over the course of this beautiful and heartfelt story. Jen Wang weaves a compelling narrative, made all the richer by her beautiful art style, and brought to life by her loveable characters.

This would be an excellent first graphic novel for someone who is looking to try the genre out; though it’s divided into chapters, you won’t want to put it down (so it reads quickly). For the seasoned graphic novel reader, this is a lovely fairytale.

Did I mention that the art style is beautiful? Wang designs true masterpieces through Frances’ dresses—beautiful even to those who, like me, don’t really understand fashion.

This modern classic will definitely make you cry (in the good way).

The Prince and the Dressmaker is available for checkout from the Galesburg Public Library.

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