I hope this kingdom cured lactose intolerance or else a portion of the population is surely suffering.
I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich by Deya Muniz. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.
In The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Lady Camembert, the daughter of a count, doesn’t want to get married, but due to the restrictive inheritance laws of the country, will get nothing when her father dies. So when he passes away, she has no choice but to move to the distant kingdom, Fromage, and disguise herself as the Count Camembert instead. Once there, though, Cam causes a stir at a party thrown by Princess Brie, and quickly finds herself with a tight circle of nobles as friends. And as she gets closer to them all, especially Brie, her false identity becomes harder to maintain. She can’t keep the secret forever, but she wonders what it will cost her to reveal the truth.
Fans of The Prince and the Dressmaker, this is for you!
This book is SO CUTE. I love the characters so much, especially Cam and Brie. But the entire cast is fantastic—Feta is so sweet, as are Brie’s friends Ricotta and Zola (short for, you guessed it, Gorgonzola). I have no idea why cheese was the theme, but honestly why not? The friendships and burgeoning love between the two main girls were portrayed so well. You really root for all these characters to be happy.
And the art style is vivid and dynamic. The fashion is lovely, and the expressions on the characters’ faces are so expressive, at times hilarious and other times heart-wrenching. I also have no clue what time this is supposed to take place in. There are such old fashioned… well, fashions, but also Feta and Cam are both shown playing Nintendo Switch, so… oh, who am I kidding? This story is too cute for the time period to matter. It’s a fictional country, so there are no rules!
I also really loved the themes about honesty and vulnerability, about using one’s high status to help those less privileged, and about friendship and kindness. There are definitely moments of pain and sadness, but they are always framed by support and balanced by moments of humor and heart. And this is one of those books you know will have a happy ending, so that softens the angst a bit. Because seriously, this book is just a big squishy hug.
So if it isn’t obvious, The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. It’s rather cheesy (pun very much intended) but so supremely adorable. Beautiful art, a kind message, and delightful characters. I love it dearly.
The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich will be published on May 9th, 2023!