Thank you to Netgalley who approved my request and provided me with this ebook copy of The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick, it’s clearly not what I’d expected. In no way does the process of how I received this book, influence my opinion.
The Princess of Baker Street follows the story of thirteen-year-old Eric Sinclair as he tells us about his childhood best friend, Joey. At birth, Joey was identified as a male, but he’s always felt like a girl. The games they used to play, how he dressed up and acted portrayed Joey into the thirteen-year-old Joey Kinkaid today. Although, not everyone is fond about it. Middle school can be a challenging year as Eric distances himself from Joey but aches to help. Eric’s own problems at home affect him soon enough where he has to choose what’s right.
I can't be daydreaming in public about how Joey was our princess, so I shake my head a couple of times. - 3% into the book
When I first read the blurb of this book and heard of the title, I thought it’d be a fun little book about growing up, which it is but Kerick has taken it to another level with much deeper meaning. The story is told in Eric Sinclair’s perspective with countless of flashbacks of him and Joey as kids. When things were, and nobody cared that Joey acted like a girl. They thought it’d past, but it’s who Joey is. Other characters in the book besides Joey’s mother and Emily haven’t come to terms with who Joey is. Therefore Joey’s been bullied, almost every chapter.
Eric cares more about his status and who will be there for him instead of standing up for Joey. If he stood up to the bullies, then he'd realize and see that Joey would be there for him. They'd be there for each other. It irked me that even after they became study buddies and Joey didn’t see him as Travis or Lily, Eric still didn’t stand up for Joey. Something deep inside had to push him to the limit, which I will not spoil because it has its reasons. That’s the only issue I had with the novel.
The number of times Eric stood and watched while Joey was tormented, only for being who he wanted to be. Eric’s also been going through things. His mother abandons him at home, and as it draws to winter, there’s no power, only cold water and barely money for Eric to survive alone. Eric’s mother is off staying with her boyfriend and taking care of his kids than her own. That’s messed up. I had to remember a few times that they’re just thirteen and going through so much.
In a way, I understood why it took so long for Eric to act. He’s in that phase where his reputation is at hand, especially since he’s actually a good character, overall. The little things he’s part of and does proves that he just isn’t a two-dimensional person to tell Joey’s story.
And thanks to the way everybody's gawking at him--at his long hair and his pink shirt and the way he floats instead of walks--they don't notice I'm getting ready to jump too. - 39% into the book
Joey had to be the sweetest character I’ve ever read. While she was bullied, she didn’t resort to their level and acted rationally. Through the entire novel, readers are shown to Joey’s real side. There hasn’t been a time where Joey changed to fit in. Apart from wearing boy clothes to please her dad, she slowly gave up. Eric wondered a few times why Joey didn’t save herself the embarrassment and just change clothes. Joey was just being Joey. The fact that Joey’s smart and mature shows that she’s had quite a think about everything and it’s mostly shown towards the end.
There were many topics brought up, apart from figuring out your true sexuality—independence was shown. Eric had to compromise when his mother hadn’t given him money, or there wasn’t enough food. Joey was out on her own apart from her mother’s support, she had nobody to fight the tough time with. Friendship is slowly established once Eric and Joey are study buddies, but they have boundaries. Countless times, Eric goes over to Joey’s house but checks if anyone is around that he knows. He refuses to broaden their friendship. Relationships have to be another one. Even though it isn’t the central theme, it is shown a few times during and a couple times in the end. With regards to Eric and Joey, Eric finds himself caring more about Joey than himself. Even though he’s embarrassed…should I say? He’ll still be there for Joey afterward. Eric and Travis’ friendship subsides as the story flows which makes way for Emily. I think Kerick made a good move with that.
I start remembering things I wish I could forget, like how his hair smelled--as sweet as the soft kind of sugary pink bubble.
And smells stick with you...
- 13% into the book
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and its surprises. The ending satisfied me, where I’ve added the book to my ’to buy’ list for the future. With a success rate of four stars, I hope I’ve persuaded you into picking up this LGBTQIA, Coming of Age novel!