- Paperback: 276 pages
- Publisher: MACMILLAN USA (13 February 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781626723634
- ISBN-13: 978-1626723634
- ASIN: 162672363X
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.2 x 21.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 603 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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PRINCE & THE DRESSMAKER Paperback – 13 Feb 2018
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A Washington Post Best Graphic Novel of 2018
A NPR Best Book of 2018
A Boston Globe Best Children's Book of 2018
A Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
Joint winner of the 2018 Harvey Award for Best Children's or Young Adult Book
2019 Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards Teen Book of the Year
"There is so much love in Wang's illustrations, which are perfectly suited to the fairy tale nature of the book...it's completely satisfying. In modern fairy tales, there really are happy endings."--New York Times
"Leave it to such a gifted artist to create this love letter to aesthetic design set against the story of a relationship blossoming between seamstress and prince." --Washington Post, from their "10 Best Graphic Novels of 2018"
"Jen Wang's cartooning is full of warmth and charm." --AV Club, from their "10 Most Anticipated Comics of 2018"
"A unique and thoroughly modern fairy tale. . . . a great story about being true to yourself and the kind of companionship you can find when you do." --Nerdist
"This graphic novel has all the trappings of a rags-to-riches romance. And it is one--in a joyfully subversive and inclusive way." --Horn Book, starred review
"Gorgeously dense artwork, lively sense of movement, effervescent fashions, sweet romance, and heartwarming denouement." --Booklist, starred review
"With inviting illustrations and a relatable story line, this tender tale of friendship and identity is sure to delight even readers who aren't fans of the graphic novel format."--School Library Journal, starred review
"It's all but certain to deliver grins, gasps, and some happy tears." --Publisher Weekly, starred review
"A visual feast, filled with exuberant charm and delightful characters." --VOYA
"For kids who never found a Disney princess costume to fit--literally or figuratively--Wang offers a second chance to claim a fairy tale of one's own. Readers new, or resistant, to graphic novels will also discover magic here in Wang's visual storytelling." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
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Prince Sebastian is 16 and feeling the weight of a soon-to-be Kingdom on his shoulders. Frances is also 16 and a seamstress with dreams of wild dress designs to grace fashion runways and stages.
One day Frances designs a wildly inappropriate and fabulous dress for a socialite that lands her on the gossip pages – and out of a job. But Sebastian is enamoured of her design and has a proposition for her – to become his private dressmaker. Because Sebastian has two sides … one is a dutiful Prince, currently appeasing his parents by meeting eligible princesses to potentially marry. The other side of him, however, craves luxurious fabrics and fabulous outfits that transform Sebastian into the flame-haired Lady Crystallia. Nobody knows his secret, except private secretary Emile – and now Frances. Who agrees to become his very private designer and dressmaker, and together they’ll be the talk of the town.
‘The Prince and the Dressmaker’ is a subversive fable – a gender fluid celebration encouraging an embracing of ones true selves. I love that this YA graphic novel exists, and is telling such a complex but necessary story. That there’s also a romance in here between Sebastian and Frances, a gentle and yet bracingly uncomplicated unfolding, is also something to truly admire.
And I did really enjoy reading this, but I didn’t love it the way I wanted to. One aspect that I wanted amplified was the dress styles portrayed – a lot of them looked like somewhat ho-hum Disney Princess styling’s, and I was more hoping for Disney-meets-Lady-Gaga with the volume turned up to 150.
The other aspect I thought was just a little too gentle was Sebastian’s secret reveal. The fallout didn’t feel big enough for the pacing, like it wasn’t enough of a ‘Sebastian at his lowest point’ to properly meld with the dramatic finale.
At the back of the book, Jen Wang reveals that her original idea for the story had Frances and Sebastian as adults, before she changed her mind and thought telling this for a teen audience would be more powerful. I agree – I absolutely think this graphic novel being YA is impacting and meaningful for a readership that needs more nuance in all diverse tales. But seeing the rough sketches of the characters as adults, and the barest hint of something more tantalisingly sexual and lustful … I think that could have amped the story up even more, and would have benefited from it. And I’ve no doubt I also think this because I have recently discovered the joys of adult comic book publisher, Iron Circus Comics – via the very romantic and erotic, 'Letters For Lucardo' by Noora Heikkilä.
So, yes – I enjoyed this graphic novel. But I would have loved everything to be more drama and just amped up a little. From the dresses to the fallout, I’d have loved just … MORE!
The first time I saw this book it was in the school library I work in, I work in a select entry all-boys high school. It was a request from a student, V (16 and painfully shy) has great taste in books all the library staff know that. I only add this information so I can say that this isn't just a book for girls and women. If it appeals to you read it. Haters gonna hate. This is a book that people will see themselves in, creative people, people who do not align themselves with traditional gender norms, people who aren't comfortable in their own skin.
I do want to say that the main character Sebastian is not transgender, he cross-dresses for his comfort and pleasure but he identifies as male and is attracted to women. It's a really nice thing to see in fiction. it's something different and from what I can tell it is done with respect, the discrimination felt period-appropriate. Frances' confidence was so endearing, charming and her attitude is something that is admirable.
As I said it is predictable but that didn't bother me. And most people I can see reading this won't be bothered by that either. It is just a really sweet story of friendship and acceptance with some beautiful art and absolutely stunning dresses.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
It was a surprisingly quick read, but because the images take up so much space, it ends up being a pretty hefty book, so I felt like I was getting a lot of value out of it. The design of the cover and the sturdiness is great, and while I was surprised that in some senses the lineart seemed a little unpolished, that in no way detracted from the read - and I'm really happy to support a growing artist.
The books is clean in terms of violence, sex, and language, making it appropriate for both kids and adults. The subject matter would make it great for a kid who is questioning or is trans, or kids who have friends who are.
Negative - the binding. I bought the hardcopy and after 1 day bouncing around my backpack it was already torn a bit on the spine and ragged at the corners.