There’s a paradoxical question about, if one had the chance to go back in time, what wisdom would they impart on their younger selves? Seeing as how I really haven’t learned much in ten years, I’m not a fan of this question. (Also, John Green dealt with it better in one of his interviews.) If I had a time machine, I would go back to two very specific times, and tell my younger self, “Heads up, this is going to be on the test.” The second of these dates is about winter on my freshman year, wherein I run into my awkward, geeky fifteen year old self contemplating the incredibly girly looking book (it’s pink and has a sparkly tiara on the cover!) . To which I, being slightly wiser about these things, hand it over and say, “This book is going to change your life.”Sound presumptuous, I know. Especially when you realize that in those ten years, I’ve gone through many more books of higher quality which I recommend on a daily basis. (Ignoring the fact that many of these books weren’t around in 2001…) What is it about this book that I keep coming back to? Why do I hold this up above all of these other books and authors that I love and adore?Here’s why: I could relate. When I picked this up way, way back in the day, I found in Mia a character I could relate to. Someone who was going through a lot of the same things that I was dealing with at the age. (Without the princess thing. Or the father’s cancer. Or my mother dating a teacher. I think the only thing I had in common with Mia was that we were both failing algebra.) At the time, I had a hard time finding books that could deliver that. Sure, I read very good YA books, but I never connected with the characters. And to this day, even on the nth-millionth reading of it, I still love this book. Sure, I think Mia’s fairly immature about certain things, and that a lot of the characters can be grossly exaggerated. But there’s still that sense of being able to relate to these characters, even if it’s more “Yup, that’s how I used to be.” It’s such a fun book, and a well-done one at that. The only real problem I had with this reread is that the copy I have replaced a lot of the outdated references, to which my mind did a mental halt whenever I start seeing Kayne West get name-dropped. (Again, I read this book all the time during my sophomore year. Yeah. Bit obsessed.) So, yes, I’ve read much better books. I’ve found other authors to fawn over. My writing’s gotten better with more exposure. But to be completely and perfectly honest with you? The Princess Diaries has done a lot more for me, both as a writer and a reader, than most other books have.It’s still my favoritest book ever.