The Prince and the Dressmaker
By Jen Wang
First Second, 2018. 288 pages. Young Adult Graphic Novels
The Prince and the Dressmaker starts on a hilarious note as Frances, working as a seamstress in a shop, designs a gown for a young lady looking to make quite a statement and a bit of payback to her overbearing mother. The dress causes such a splash that Frances is in the process of being fired from her job when she is snapped up by a mysterious but obviously high-ranking aristocratic client. She soon discovers that her employer is none other than Prince Sebastian, the most eligible bachelor in Paris that summer, who wants Frances to create gowns for him to wear! Sebastian asks Frances to keep his love of wearing dresses a secret as she designs gown after brilliant gown for him, but keeping his secret also means keeping herself a secret from the world.
Jen Wang is a talented author and illustrator whose work you may have seen in the graphic novel In Real Life (co-authored with Cory Doctorow). She has outdone herself with this delightful story about forging your own identity, being true to yourself, and accepting others. In addition to her insightful storytelling, this graphic novel is beautifully illustrated and the flow from panel to panel is intuitive and dramatic. I haven't been so delighted with a graphic novel since Roller's Girls' meaningful and moving storytelling. Although this may challenge some conventions, reading this book can help build empathy and is a great pick for young adult audiences.