Published by First Second
Summary: Frances is a talented but struggling dressmaker in 19th-century Paris. When she designs a daring dress for the spoiled teenage daughter of an aristocratic family, Frances is simultaneously fired by her employer and summoned by a mysterious “client” to design similar clothing. The client turns out to be Prince Sebastian, the 16-year-old son of a visiting king. Sebastian’s secret life of dressing up in fancy clothes and wigs would be devastating to his royal parents who are trying to find him a wife. Frances becomes part of the secret, designing amazing garments and going out on the town with Sebastian disguised as Lady Crystallia. Meanwhile, Sebastian reluctantly chooses a wife to please his parents, but when her brother discovers his secret, the game is up. Frances has become tired of having her talents hidden away, and a fashion-show showdown allows both her and Sebastian to embrace who they truly are. Even the king accepts his son, and shows his support by strutting down the runway. A happy-ever-after ending caps off this unique fairy tale. 288 pages; grades 7+
Pros: Fans of fashion, fairy tales, and feminism will enjoy this graphic novel that showcases two unique teenagers coming to terms with their true identities. The illustrations are lots of fun, particularly those featuring Frances’s designs.
Cons: Teen readers may not feel the king’s ready acceptance of his son is entirely realistic.