I Am Princess X Summary

Cherie Priest

I Am Princess X

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I Am Princess X Summary

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I Am Princess X is a 2015 young adult graphic novel by Cherie Priest. It concerns a sad and isolated teenager, May, who resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her mother and occasionally visits her father in Seattle. Having lost her best friend, Libby, in a car accident, she reminisces about the warrior princess character they created together and named Princess X. Several years after losing Libby, May begins seeing Princess X memorabilia around town. She finds a website about Princess X and starts to wonder if her friend is still alive, following a path of clues to Libby’s whereabouts. The novel is an entertaining reflection about the power of the private encoded languages that are formed by intimate friendships.

The novel begins in May’s early childhood. At the end of elementary school, she moves to Seattle from Atlanta. She initially struggling to find friends, but as soon as she meets Libby, they become fast friends. They attend the same middle school and spend their time drawing comics that contain a superhero of their own invention named Princess X. The stories vary in content, but Princess X is their constant protagonist, embodying their own aspirations for approaching the new problems they encounter in young adulthood. Enjoying their otherwise typical everyday life, May is shocked to learn one day that Libby and her mother were in a car crash on the Ballard Bridge. Neither survived.

May suffers deeply after losing Libby. She becomes depressed and loses the desire to keep up with the character of Princess X, the endeavor seeming empty without Libby’s voice in the creative dialogue. She moves back to her mother’s house in Atlanta to attend a different school. Shortly before her 17th birthday, May returns to Seattle for a short visit to her father. Walking down the street, she sees a sticker that looks strangely familiar. Upon closer inspection, it is Princess X. In the following days, she sees a proliferation of such imagery, mostly in the form of underground street art that references Princess X. Princess X was only known by her and Libby, so May theorizes that Libby might still be alive somewhere.

May asks her friend Patrick, a tech geek, to use his computer skills to search for any clues based on the sticker. He shows her a website called IAmPrincessX.com that is full of new stories of Princess X’s adventures. May reads them feverishly and is convinced that they are the same writing style as Libby’s. She and Patrick resolve to follow the expanding trail of clues left by the owners of the website in search of Libby’s location. During their search, they find evidence that there are also other people using the webpage to search for Libby. As the race to find her friend progresses, May finds out that Libby is still alive. She was taken hostage by a man who had once asked Libby’s parents to allow her use as a medical subject in a procedure to save the man’s daughter from a strange illness. Libby’s parents refused, citing the risk to their daughter’s mental and physical health. Shortly after, tha man’s daughter died from her illness. In his desperate response, the man killed Libby’s mother, and abducted Libby, intending to raise her in the place of his own daughter. Initially trapped without any hope of escape, Libby learned the man’s routines and pulled off an escape from her captivity. Now constantly on the run from the man who continued to pursue her, she was unable to get help from government officials, thwarted by the man who spread a lie that he was his mentally unstable child.

In a race against time, May, with Patrick’s help, manages to track down Libby and defend her with all the evidence she accumulated about her plight. They reunite, saved by the coded language they developed in middle school. The captor is charged with kidnapping a youth and is not seen again. Having solved a puzzle in the fashion of the heroic Princess X, May realizes that her strong friendship with Libby was the primary powerful act that birthed their superheroine. Princess X, once relegated to the world of fiction, has been found to have utility in the real world thanks to their close bond. Priest’s novel is thus a validation of the importance of female bonding, especially of the artistic sort, during one’s turbulent teenage years. The role of Princess X in their eventual rediscovery of each other suggests that the unique languages of friendship allow individuals to transcend their personal problems and invent a greater solidarity with each other.