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Item - Diamonds Are for Princess

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KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

Two things immediately jump out to me about this book, things that make Diamonds Are for Princess an intriguing read, indeed. First, it was written by rock star of young-adult literature Scott Westerfeld, who has blown minds and built fanatical allegiances with such popular offerings as the Uglies, Peeps and Leviathan series. There are many who would enthusiastically read anything penned by the successful Mr. Westerfeld, but how many of his devoted followers are aware that he authored three books in the Powerpuff Girls Plus You Club series? Not many, I'd wager. Getting to read Diamonds Are for Princess feels something like a backstage pass to the early days of Scott Westerfeld's writing career, before the mere presence of his name on a book would automatically cause sales to spike. If Diamonds Are for Princess had been published ten years later, I can't help but think Scott Westerfeld's authorship would have been its main selling point. The second thing I immediately noticed about this book is that, unlike every other gamebook I've ever read, the narrative is experienced from the perspective of the villain. That's right, Powerpuff Girls fans, we don't get to direct the actions of Blossom, Bubbles or Buttercup this time, as in most other entries in the Powerpuff Girls Plus You Club series. Our job is to make decisions as the painfully entitled, obnoxiously self-centered antagonist Princess Morbucks. Her best interests are our own in this story, even as she plots to commit crimes with the power of her father's limitless supply of money behind her. But what will happen when her spree of criminally motivated spending brings her into direct opposition against the Powerpuff Girls?

After seeing the incredible Gemjunk Diamond on display at Townsville Museum, Princess Morbucks decides she must have it for her own. She doesn't want to have to share it with all the other people in Townsville! Princess's financial assets are more than substantial enough to support any criminal plot she might hatch to steal the diamond, but she's going to need help. If she elects to hire the notorious Femme Fatale for the heist, Princess will have to watch her back for the inevitable double-cross when it comes. Femme Fatale may talk a good game about girls sticking together to preserve a unified front against gender discrimination in the world, but she'll swipe the Gemjunk Diamond for herself in a second if she thinks she can get away with it. If Princess chooses to enlist the help of the Gangreen Gang to steal the diamond, treachery may rear its ugly head even sooner than with Femme Fatale. The Gangreen Gang isn't exactly the smartest criminal outfit in Townsville though; even Princess may be capable of outwitting them, but she will have to tread carefully. She's already offered them a substantial cash sum to commit a highly illegal act, and if the law finds out about the payoff--or worse, if the Powerpuff Girls uncover the truth--Princess will soon be headed for jail. I guess there truly is no honor among thieves, at least not in Townsville.

If Princess decides instead to offer the Mayor a gigantic bribe ("I'll pay you one trillion dollars!") in exchange for the priceless Gemjunk Diamond, she may find dealing with the scatterbrained mayor to be more of a headache than it's worth. If she's not careful (or let's face it, even if she is), Princess will likely end up racing around town trying to retrieve her lost bribe money, running into other villains and further confusion instigated by the Mayor. Ultimately, she will run into the Powerpuff Girls as well, who won't take kindly to Princess's attempts to strike an illicit deal to purchase Townsville's Gemjunk Diamond on the black market. The flip side of the Powerpuff Girls always winning the day is that there's no room for villains to triumph or prosper in the city of Townsville, even temporarily, so you won't find much daylight for Princess Morbucks to emerge victorious in Diamonds Are for Princess. About the best she can do is end up temporarily incarcerated on charges that will eventually be proven unfounded, and just getting there requires a steadily maintained mix of logical decisions and luck. Though it may be far from a Robert Cormier novel, one can't expect to score a win on the protagonist's behalf in this story; still, it's the most fun the reader is likely to ever have being shipped off to jail repeatedly.

There seems to be more text to Diamonds Are for Princess than most Powerpuff Girls Plus You Club books, and Scott Westerfeld does a good job writing the story. He delves a bit more deeply into the Powerpuff Girls story bible than the other authors in the series, sometimes even for just a one- or two-line reference to the television show and its characters. My favorite of these references is on page nine, where Princess Morbucks is sitting in her room figuring out who would be the best villain to call for help in stealing the Gemjunk Diamond: "Maybe Him could do it, but he gives me the creeps." Ah yes, the infamous Him! I'd been waiting to find a mention of Him in one of these books. I only wish Princess had considered calling the Rowdyruff Boys in on the planned burglary of the diamond. Having them team up with Princess against the Powerpuff Girls could have been an excellent adventure!

This was the best of the first three books I've read in the series, and I'd be especially interested in reading the other two that were written by Scott Westerfeld. For fans of the author's young-adult literature, I recommend Diamonds Are for Princess as an early look into the mind that would achieve such massive success writing about freedom-loving teenagers in a future dystopian America, and for devotees of The Powerpuff Girls, I recommend it as one of the better books in this series. I know I had a lot of fun reading it.

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