Perfect Villains

Scholastic. (Bad Princesses). May 2023. 176p. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781338833140.
Gr 3-7–Princess Dominga is less than thrilled to be starting school at the Fine and Ancient Institute for the Royal (F.A.I.R.). Not only is she expected to live up to the perfectness of Paloma, her sister and the future queen, she’s just not really cut out for the golden carriages, sweet-smelling flowers, and the arrogant girls at F.A.I.R. She’d rather attend the neighboring school of The Bewitched Academy for the Dreadful (B.A.D.). It’s only after she meets Dalia, another princess she suspects is very much like she is, does Dominga decide she has a true companion to launch her plan to create havoc and mayhem at this school. If only the annoying Princess Ines would stop interfering in Dominga’s plans and let her execute her schemes to cause trouble! Then those in charge at B.A.D. would have to recognize her wickedness and invite her to join them. But every time she thinks her strategy is going to work, someone or something interferes with her devilish plans. Magic spells, surly princesses, and even a sorting tiara are all featured in this tale of girls who want to be bad. The author infuses the book with words and phrases (and food) from her Mexican heritage. The story involves a princess’s attempt to create mayhem at school but who is thwarted continually. This constant upset of her plans does little to further the story; in fact, it sadly struggles to allow the story to gain momentum. Readers will get tired of waiting for something of substance to happen. The only art is the cover art, which has a manga sort of appeal and thorny vines that introduce each chapter.
VERDICT A quick read for princess (bad and good) aficionados but an optional purchase for more discerning readers.

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