When Carlie's father dies, she is overwhelmed with grief and not at all ready to deal with life. Life doesn't give her a choice, though, when Carlie's mother is forced to sell their beachside house and move the family to Las Pulgas, the poor side of town. Carlie is horrified by their disgusting apartment and disgusted with the new school and its ghetto students who nickname her "Princess." Las Pulgas is nothing like the privileged Channing where she grew up, and it seems to be tearing her family apart...
Although it's a little out of my usual genre, I enjoyed The Princess of Las Pulgas a lot more than I expected.
It wasn't exactly the most original plot line I've ever read. But it was sweet, at times even touching. I enjoyed the story and I thought it ended well, with excellent closure on all fronts.
Carlie started off, frankly, as a spoiled brat. Her grief aside, she was so whiny about "Omg, I have to live with poor people??" that I was a little turned off. However, I thought her personal growth and acceptance that poor people are people too, despite being a little expected, was well done and realistic. I enjoyed seeing her mature and learn. In addition, I thought her feelings of loss and her eventual acceptance of her father's death were excellently well-written and very touching.
The rest of the cast were also fairly well-written; I particularly enjoyed Sean, Lena, and K.T. Lena, in particular, since I used to have a similar "friend" and so I could relate a lot to Carlie's relationship with her.
There were some fairly egregious grammar errors, but since I was reading an uncorrected proof I won't factor them into my review.
I though Carlie's internal struggled was done excellently. Her emotions were realistic and relatable, her grief remarkably well written. Her external world, however, was less impressive. The description was a little lacking, the pacing a little rushed, and it was just generally less interesting. So I enjoyed reading about Carlie, but I found her context a little less interesting.
End Result: four stars. A good book, definitely worth your time.