Married ladies can have crushes, too

. . . Well — book crushes, that is.

My earliest relationships weren’t with actual boys, friends. I didn’t manage to catch the eye of the cute kid in math class or Peter Brady or even Daniel, the first boy to earn a sappy valentine in second grade.

They were with book characters.

LoveI fell for bookish leading men long before I dared to express my feelings to any real-life ones. Relationships in my favorite novels taught me about relationships in general, especially in those impressionable teen years, and I feel like I’m a better reader — and person — because of it.

Though I am, in fact, a happily married lady, my devotion to my flesh-and-blood husband does not negate the underlying passion I can feel for literary men. We’ve all been there, right? Sometimes you can’t help but fall into a bottomless pit of yearning for some bookish dude who just pushes all the right buttons.

It’s easy to lust after someone two-dimensional. We don’t have to rinse out their dirty coffee cups or throw their crusty socks in the hamper or deal with ambiguous text messages at 2 a.m. It’s fun to pine for an unavailable guy sometimes, right?

And being fictional and all, these men definitely qualify.

Now, it’s very easy for me to become enamored with a leading man in the moment. As in reality, bookish gentlemen are appealing at different times for different reasons. But I’m going to highlight the lasting crushes — the ones that come to mind immediately, even a decade-plus since I was introduced to them.

So grab a fan, ladies. It’s about to get hot in here.

Michael MoscovitzMichael Moscovitz
Of Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries series

Michael was easily my first major book crush — and for that reason, I find it impossible to deny his allure. First loves, right?

I loved how Michael and Mia’s relationship evolved over time, culminating in the unexpected magic that was Forever Princess . . . a book I’m pretty sure I need to re-read, like, now. The perfect blend of sweet, thoughtful, sexy and smart, Michael was pretty much my ideal dude growing up.

Just mentioning the tenth installment in that series makes me giddy because true story: Meg Cabot actually saw that review and mentioned me on her blog back in 2009. It was my first taste of blogging notoriety, and it tasted delicious. Better than any cupcake.

I’m pretty sure I ran around the house screaming like a lunatic, getting proof that a favorite author had read my little words. I didn’t even know that was possible.

But I digress.

Portrayed by Robert Schwartzman in the 2001 “Princess Diaries” film, Michael was the everyman who loved Mia before she morphed into a sleek royal. He played a musical instrument, didn’t care what others thought, cleaned up real nice. You know, the epitome of awesome to a teen girl.

Loved it. Loved him.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my old brain around the fact that “The Princess Diaries” film I adored came out 13 years ago — and Robert is 31 now. And also a successful musician.

Way to go, Michael.

Garrett as MarcusMarcus Flutie
Of Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series

I’ve documented my eternal love for Marcus before, but it really bears repeating — especially because the flame still burns, friends. It burns.

And anyway, I wrote that post four years ago. I think it’s safe to revisit the topic.

So. McCafferty’s beloved series is like the bolder, sassier, tawdrier big sister to Cabot’s, and some of the more memorable Jess/Marcus scenes are . . . well, they’re rather racy. But in a good way. It’s been a while since I finished the final book, but it’s not the sort of thing you forget.

Though rumors of a Jessica Darling film have floated around for years, nothing has come of it — so I’m left to form my own visual representation of Marcus. Another fan nominated actor Garrett Hedlund . . . and though he lacks Marcus’ signature red dreadlocks, I’m okay with the idea of Marcus growing and changing. And he does eventually cut his hair, so we’re going to rock it.

Also, I could totally see Marcus rocking a manly scarf.

Michael PittHarry Delancy
In Eva Rice’s The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

Probably the least-known of my top four crushes, Harry is an aspiring magician and rich society boy who falls surprisingly in love with the protagonist in Rice’s historical novel.

I read The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets in 2009 and haven’t really shut up about it since, mostly because it was freakin’ awesome and I’ve had so few people to talk about it with.

So go read it. Then we can talk about it.

Actor Michael Pitt seems like a solid choice for cool, disaffected Harry — a decent guy with an edge who exudes the couldn’t-give-a-care attitude that belies his actual compassion.

I could work with that.

James McAvoyFitzwilliam Darcy
In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

. . . We don’t really need an explanation, do we?

I didn’t think so.

There are lots of Darcy portrayals floating around in cinema, and I am now going to totally cheat and possibly enrage Janeites everywhere by doing something completely crazy, because sometimes that’s how I roll:

I’m going to showcase James McAvoy, who portrayed alleged-by-some-but-not-ever-proven paramour Thomas Lefroy in “Becoming Jane,” which happens to be one of my favorite movies ever.

With many Darcy-like characteristics, some claim an ill-fated flirtation with Lefroy was the inspiration for Darcy — and McAvoy is incredibly easy on the eyes, so I’m going to go ahead and splash his mug here.

But because I don’t want y’all to be mad at me, we can also bring in the Firth.


Colin Firth as Darcy

Okay. So we’re good?

literary love

I’m participating in Literary Love this week — a celebration of all things lovely and bookish! Feel free to play along by checking out other links at Estella’s Revenge, Doing Dewey, Love At First Book and From Isi, and check out posts under #LiteraryLove14.

Literary Megs, volume two

meg_cabotOh, Meg Cabot — my idol! A woman whose talents I have absolutely no problem talking about endlessly! I’ve been crazy about her Princess Diaries series since I grabbed the first novel in high school, and I actually got teary-eyed when I finished the tenth and final book in the series in January. Meg’s novels are always entertaining and full of fun, interesting characters. Even when they don’t all score an immediate home run for me (see Size 12 Is Not Fat), my overall enthusiasm for such an amazing and prolific author can’t wane.

According to her Web site, Cabot was raised in Indiana, attended college there and eventually moved to New York City, where she originally hoped to be an illustrator. She worked as assistant manager of a 700 bed freshmen dormitory at NYU for ten years while she pursued her favorite “hobby” — writing novels. 

be_popularNow Meg is the author of almost 50 books that have sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, earning both she and her characters a place in the hearts of teen and adult readers everywhere. The aforementioned awesome Princess Diaries series has been published in 38 countries and is the basis for two Disney movies (which I also love). Other popular young adult books include 1-800-Where-R-U and Mediator series, the All-American Girl books, Airhead, Jinx, How To Be Popular and Pants On Fire. Novels for kids include the Allie Finkel books, and her contemporary fiction includes Every Boy’s Gone One, the Queen of Babble series and mystery novels Size 12 Is Not Fat, Size 14 Is Not Fat Either and Big Boned.

I’ve made it my mission in life to try and be half as authentically Meg and Meg Cabot — and that’s not just because we share a first name! I love her writing style, enthusiasm and dedication to causes like Greenpeace (proceeds from her novel Ransom My Heart, “co-authored” by Princess Diaries lead Mia Thermopolis, were given to the charity). You can follow along with the fabulous Ms. Cabot’s thought on life and pop culture by peeking into the pages of her own diary. You know I’m there!

Book review: ‘Princess Diaries X: Forever Princess’ by Meg Cabot

princess_diariesI started reading Meg Cabot’s popular Princess Diaries series when it was first published in 2000 — and I was fifteen! Through high school and college graduations, full- and part-time jobs begun and ended, a few broken hearts and a whole lot of friendships renewed and lost, I’ve stuck it out with Mia Thermopolis on her never-ending quest in wooing Michael Moscovitz, taming her unruly “triange-shaped” hair, achieving self-actualization and, ultimately, rising to power as princess of Genovia (a small, fictional European nation). Princess Amelia has nursed more than a few of her own heartbreaks, too, and it’s with a bit of sadness that I finished Cabot’s Princess Diaries, Volume X: Forever Princess, the tenth and final book in the series.

First, let me preface my review with the fact that plenty of spoilers will probably abound. I’m not sure if I can really write about my love of this book without blowing a few secrets!

A little background, especially if you’ve seen the popular film of the same name starring Anne Hathaway (which was awesome, but didn’t really parallel the book): Mia Thermopolis was just like another other teenage girl in New York City, living with her artistic mother and beloved chubster cat Fat Louie when, upon hearing of her father’s cancer scare, she was informed by her mysterious (and annoying) grandmother that she is, in fact, heir to the principality of Genovia. Her father, Prince Phillipe, is the son of the reigning monarch — Grandmere.

Mia’s having a hard enough time surviving life as a gangly, awkward high school student to actually worry about being a princess — but, much to her mother’s dismay, the truth comes out. Enter the usual angst of “oh my God, Mom and Dad, you’ve been lying to me all these years!” and you have the first book or two. Mia undergoes a serious transformation, becomes slightly more glamorous, gets into arguments with her free-spirited (and highly opinionated) best friend Lilly and tries to somehow get the attention of Lilly’s older brother, Michael.

I won’t further bore you with summaries of past books, though I loved all of them! By the time we reach Forever Princess, my most recent read, Mia is about to turn eighteen; graduate from high school; attend the senior prom; figure out whether or not she’s ready to Do It with J.P., her boyfriend of two years; get over her ex-boyfriend and first love, Michael, who has suddenly returned from a medical sabbatical in Japan; and actually choose a college to attend next year.

And, oh yeah — prepare for her official duties as princess of a small country.

img_5055 I love, love, love these books. They are, as the title suggests, Mia’s personal “diaries” — her frantic scribblings about all of the chaos erupting in her life (and there’s always chaos). I love that they feel current and in-the-moment, and that we feel, as readers, that we’ve literally stumbled across her personal journals. There’s nothing pretentious about these books; they’re completely devoid of any self-consciousness, too. They’re just pure, unadulterated fun — and books in which I totally lose myself.

In this, the tenth installment of Mia’s adventures, she has definitely grown up — and the world around her has totally changed, too. Gone are the “handwritten” notes passed between Shameeka, Tina, Mia, Lilly and Lana — they’re all texting from their cell phones and BlackBerries now. The ninth book in the series chronicles her life as a sophomore, and now we’re dropped right into the end of her senior year. Though it surprised me a bit at first, this absolutely worked for me. While Cabot’s audience has aged considerably since the series began, Mia herself had not. She’s finally catching up with us and dealing with very relatable issues: choosing a profession, a home, a lover. Along that vein, the books absolutely feel real to me. I’ve always related to Mia’s plight and adventures, and I ran through this 400-page book in a little more than a day. It had wide margins, mind you, but with the exception of the Harry Potter and Twilight books, hardly anything is able to keep my prolonged, obsessive attention for that long.

As Mia makes decisions regarding her relationships, both romantic and familial, writes a romance novel (Ransom My Heart — smokin’!) and begins to plot out the rest of her life, I was right there with her. I don’t think there was anything I didn’t like about this book, and about the way the series ended . . . Cabot did a masterful job. Though life-long best friends, Lilly and Mia still had to take some time apart to realize how — and why — they’d been depending on each other, and Mia needed to spend time in a relationship with someone else to realize how much she truly loved Michael. His reappearance in the novel was like Edward showing up in New Moon — you knew it was coming, but it still took your breath away when it finally did! I was excited. I laughed and, yes, I cried.

And in the final chapter of our journey with her, Mia is all grown up — and I guess I’m getting there, too. But we sure had a heck of a run together. By the end of Forever Princess, I was definitely teary-eyed — she made the right choices. I couldn’t ask for anything more!

5 out of 5!

ISBN: 0061232920 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Diary
Personal copy purchased by Meg

Booking Through Thursday: Meg Cabot

Let’s go Booking Through Thursday! Thursday is rapidly becoming my favorite day of the week.


1. Do you have a favorite author?

meg_cabot1 I’ve long considered Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries young adult series and numerous contemporary fiction books, to be my favorite author. I love her quick, fresh writing style and become totally immersed in her stories, which usually prove to be incredibly fun reads!

2. Have you read everything he or she has written?

No, I haven’t — I’ve totally missed out on her mystery series for adults on character Heather Wells, starting with Size 12 Is Not Fat. I actually have an ARC of Big Boned, the third book in the series, but won’t pick it up until I have the first two! There are a few independent novels I’ve missed, too. After reading most of what she’d put out, I decided to take a break and try out different folks.

3. Did you LIKE everything?

I liked everything, but in varying degrees. Of all her books, my favorites are definitely the Princess Diaries novels following would-be Princess Mia Thermopolis. Of her stand-alone books for adults, I wasn’t as drawn in by Queen of Babble as I thought I would be. It was light and still a good read, but not quite up to the standards I have for Cabot. For that reason, I haven’t checked out the other two books in that series.

4. How about a least favorite author?

Most of the time if I’m not liking a book, I’ll just go ahead and set it down and won’t pick up another title by them. So no one comes to mind, although I sometimes find Joyce Carol Oates to be difficult to work through.

5. An author you wanted to like, but didn’t?

Ian McEwan. Don’t worry, I’m not giving up on him — I still have Atonement waiting patiently for me on my bookshelf, discarded after a few chapters because I was falling asleep while reading! Blasphemy, I know. I’m really intrigued by the premise of On Chesil Beach, so eventually I plan on getting that one, too. I think I just might like him yet!