the prince and the dressmaker blog tour - my favorite panel!

Today’s post is part of the blog tour for Jen Wang’s new graphic novel, The Prince and the Dressmaker. Wang plays with prince/princess stereotypes, identity, and fashion in this gorgeous standalone. Read on for a sneak preview of my favorite panel from the book and a brief review!

the prince and the dressmaker blog tour

The thing is, the thing is... if you tell me about a beautifully-illustrated young adult graphic novel with the formula "The [insert royal title] and the [insert profession]" for a title, I am sold right out of the gate. There's a part of me that will always love the promise of a fairy tale romance, and somehow that title tells me that it IS a fairy tale romance. For the record, I was not wrong!

the prince and the dressmaker by jen wang cover
Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia—the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances—one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, 
The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

Prince Sebastian of Belgium is visiting Paris for the summer with his family, to meet eligible matches. Frances is a creative dressmaker stuck in a shop, helping to meet the demand that the prince's visit (and the ball in his honor) has caused. The two would never have met, but Sebastian has a secret. He likes to wear dresses, and he wants to do so in public. After one of Frances' creations reaches an unwelcome level of notoriety, Sebastian recruits her to help him realize his dream. Along with keeping each other's secrets, they vow to help each other succeed, and thus a partnership and friendship is born. But secrets and ambition will not play nicely together forever...

Oh dear, this is the cutest story! First, love the storyline, the coming to terms with identity and finding people who you can trust and who will hold your secrets and best interests at heart, all while trying to satisfy familial duty and professional ambition. Of course there's tension, accompanied by big reveals, angst, and some running away... but in the end this is a love story and it has a happy ending. Wang also tucked in hilarious lines here and there so I was always wondering what character was going to make me laugh out loud next.

On top of the story, Wang is goshdarn talented, and this book is so *pretty* it kind of hurts? Like I want almost every page in poster form, on my wall. And I want all of the dresses, too! The fashion, the architecture, the colors and the vision! It's a feast for the eyes, and one that will draw in readers who might not typically pick up a graphic novel. Truly, it is beautiful, and it is art.

A brief note on Sebastian's identity: the assumption of this reader (from the context of the story) is that Sebastian is gender nonconforming.

And now, I'd like to introduce you to my favorite page spread (I liked the whole thing too much to pick just a panel!). Yes, there were more colorful panels, pages that showed bigger realizations and prettier dresses. BUT. This is the first time Sebastian and Frances have a moment of relationship tension, where it changes tangibly from friendship to... romantic potential?! The eye contact! The hand holding! Proximity alarms going off all over the place!!! (that's a good thing) And all over a "good night." I think you get the idea from the images alone, without even needing dialogue, and that speaks to Wang's storytelling. Just, SWOON.

In all, The Prince and the Dressmaker is a delightful, subtly funny, and beautiful story that highlights themes of coming-of-age, acceptance, friendship, and following your dreams. I adored it.

Recommended for: anyone who enjoys animated princess film classics, fans of young adult historical fiction, and readers ready for fairy tales and art updated for the modern world.

jen wang author photo
Jen Wang is a cartoonist and illustrator currently living in Los Angeles. Her works have appeared in the Adventure Time comics and LA Magazine. She recently illustrated Tom Angleberger's Fake Mustache.  Her graphic novels Koko Be Good and In Real Life (with author Cory Doctorow) were published by First Second. 

Interested in checking out other bloggers’ favorite panels from The Prince and the Dressmaker? Check out the tour schedule, or click any of the links below!

The Prince and the Dressmaker will publish from First Second on February 13, 2018.

Fine print: I received copy of this title for review consideration. I did not receive any compensation for this post.


Anonymous said...

Oh! I didn't realize this blog tour had started already. I loved this book too and your panel is such a fun choice--it was a strong contender for my own favorite as well!

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I super can't wait to read this one. The story looks so great, and everything I've seen of the art makes it look really sweet too.

Banana Blond said...

This book looks SO good! I'm very intrigued!

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