This book is SO CUTE, I can’t even handle it! I was first introduced to Jen Wang’s work through In Real Life. It’s been a while since I’ve read a graphic novel, and this was the perfect one to make me reawaken my love for them. I read this graphic novel in one sitting, too, if that tells you anything. 😉
Title: The Prince and the Dressmaker
Author: Jen Wang
Publisher: First Second
Release date: February 13, 2018
Genre: Young adult, graphic novels
Length: 288 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:
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? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.”
I simply adored how this book displayed the struggles of Prince Sebastian–the expectation and pressure he faced from his family as the crown prince, but I found myself enjoying the adorable friendship between him and Frances the most. They worked so well together, and he truly shined even more with her help.
I’m quite glad this didn’t come out as single-issue comics because it would have been so difficult to wait for the next one. I think there’s a special talent in story-telling, to be able to fit and create such depth of characters within such a short amount of time, too. The art was lovely, and we see a variety of Wang’s work throughout this novel. The dresses Frances made for the Prince were fantastic, and makes me wish I had the talent to create something so lovely.
The best part about this graphic novel was the acceptance. Sebastian was so afraid his family would be horrified, so only two people knew about this “secret life.” I can’t imagine the inner turmoil he must have felt. We get glimpses of it throughout the story before it all hits the ceiling in a very dramatic way, causing Sebastian to seek seclusion and create a fissure between his friendship with Frances.
But thank goodness this book had a wonderful ending or else I wouldn’t have been able to handle it, lol. Ultimately, this book is about the hardships, fear, and acceptance. And while that isn’t always the case in real life, it’s nice to have it reflected in fiction and make it a possibility.