The prince and the dressmaker / Jen Wang.

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    • Edition:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: 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?
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Booklist Reviews 2018 January #1

*Starred Review* Frances, a seamstress living in Paris at the turn of the century, causes quite a stir when she designs a daring, avant-garde ballgown for a count's daughter, who blithely asks to be dressed "like the devil's wench." Though the countess is displeased, her daughter is enchanted, and so is the crown prince, Sebastian, who immediately hires Frances with an unusual request: he wants her to make him a wardrobe of bold, glamorous gowns. Secrecy, of course, is paramount, but Frances loves having the freedom to design the dresses of her dreams, which are making quite a name for the prince's au courant alter ego, Lady Crystallia. Wang's buoyant, richly colored artwork beautifully envisions Frances' designs against an already captivating background. It's not that the de rigueur fashions are ugly or boring—rather, everything is beautiful—but Frances' ensembles stand out stunningly. As Lady Crystallia gains notoriety, and Frances gets closer to meeting her idol, a designer of ballet costumes, elements of Frances' designs trickle subtly into the wider fashion world. But fame brings attention, and Seb's worries about being exposed surpass his loyalty to his friend. Though the conclusion is perhaps too rosy given the suggested time period, that's an easy quibble to forgive, thanks to the gorgeously dense artwork, lively sense of movement, effervescent fashions, sweet romance, and heartwarming denouement. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Fall

Prince Sebastian hires young seamstress Frances as his personal clothier; some days he feels comfortable identifying as male, but others he prefers his dress-wearing alter ego, socialite Lady Crystallia. The teens struggle to keep Sebastian's secret, resist stifling expectations, and sort out their feelings for each other. The graphic novel's illustrations balance the finery of clothing and setting with relatable, endearing protagonists. Dynamic panel shapes and sizes accentuate the emotions of each scene. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2018 #2

With a setting and palette reminiscent of Disney's Cinderella and a setup involving a royal ball, this graphic novel has all the trappings of a rags-to-riches romance. And it is one—in a joyfully subversive and inclusive way. Seamstress Frances causes an uproar when she designs an unconventional gown for an unconventional young lady to wear to Prince Sebastian's birthday ball. Just as Frances is about to be fired from the dressmaker's shop, she receives an offer of a position as personal clothier to a mysterious client. The client is soon revealed to be Prince Sebastian himself; as he explains, some days he feels comfortable identifying as male, but other days he feels like a princess. Frances designs the haute-est of ladies' haute couture for Sebastian to wear as his alter ego, socialite Lady Crystallia. As the teens struggle to keep Sebastian's secret, resist the stifling expectations of those around them, and sort out their feelings for each other, tensions escalate between them and between Sebastian and the king. Happily, a dazzling climactic catwalk scene provides opportunities for reconciliation and for the characters' talents—and true colors—to shine. Wang's illustrations balance the finery of the clothing and settings with her relatable, endearing protagonists. Dynamic panel shapes and sizes accentuate the emotions of each scene, whether poignant or triumphant. An author's note explains Wang's process and provides glimpses of the conceptual sketches. katie bircher Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

PW Reviews 2017 December #2

A talented seamstress and a prince with a secret will win readers' hearts in Wang's utterly charming graphic novel, which is set in a playfully tweaked version of 19th-century Paris and highlights identity, acceptance, and fashion. After creating a scandalous dress for an attendee of Prince Sebastian's 16th birthday party, Frances—an overlooked seamstress with big dreams—accepts a position as personal seamstress for a mystery client. She soon discovers that her employer is none other than Prince Sebastian, who wants her to create dazzling gowns for Lady Crystallia, Sebastian's alter ego, who quickly becomes a fashion icon. Despite Frances's connection with Sebastian, she worries that being part of the prince's secret is limiting her dreams of finding success as a designer. The relationship between Frances and Sebastian—both as a conflicted prince and the glamorous Crystallia—glows; Frances understands that Sebastian and Crystallia are two halves of a brilliant whole. "It's weird, I don't feel like Prince Sebastian could lead a nation into battle, but Lady Crystallia could," admits the prince, inspiring Frances to create an armor-themed dress for their next midnight escapade. Frances's daring designs shine in Wang's elegantly drafted and gorgeously colored illustrations, and the irreverently anachronistic approach to the setting provides a lovely and humorous counterbalance to the seriousness of the prince's situation ("Prepare to get your lady groove on," insists the burly, bearded king, who is eager for Sebastian to be betrothed). It's all but certain to deliver grins, gasps, and some happy tears. Ages 12–up. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Feb.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.