Princess Amy (Sweet Dreams #4)
First published 1981
My history with this book
As previously mentioned, I was a big fan of the Sweet Dreams series in junior high. I remember enjoying Princess Amy very much as a kid, although I didn’t remember much about it other than that there was a love triangle.
Thankfully, reading Princess Amy was better than my last attempt at a Sweet Dreams book. Although Princess Amy was a little dated, it was still an entertaining book and I can see why I liked this one as a kid. Sixteen-year-old Amy Painter is being sent to spend her summer vacation with her wealthy aunt and uncle on Mackinac Island. She’s dreading the trip because her aunt Marcella and her cousin Candace are terrible snobs, but her mother insists on it because she wants Amy to meet a “better class of boy, handsome ones, rich ones” (ugh).
Within hours of her arrival, Amy acquires two admirers, working class Pete and rich douchebag Guy. She’s dazzled by the handsome and charming guy, but also a little scared, while she feels safe with the nice but slightly dull Pete. When she first meets Guy, he pretends to drown her in the pool. She complains to her aunt, who basically tells her to suck it up because he’s a good catch (again, ugh).
All of the rich kids are portrayed in the sort of broad rich-kid stereotypes that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever watched Caddyshack or The OC. The girls are all skinny and eat nothing but lettuce, while looking down on Amy, who’s said to be a size 12, which I’m guessing is more like the equivalent of a size 8 in 1981 terms. The body shaming is pretty awful in this book. Aunt Marcella tells the housekeeper not to allow Amy to have any bread, and she buys Amy an outfit that’s one size too small: “Why of course it won’t fit, dear. It’s an incentive. I got a size ten so you’ll have a reason to knock off that extra weight.” Amy bristles against this, but in the end, she does lose some weight, and I wish she had been able to stay happily at size 12, just to spite her aunt and cousin.
Seemingly unbothered by Amy’s weight are the romantic rivals, Guy and Pete. Candace refers to Pete as “weird,” but this makes no sense because Pete is way too boring to be weird. Guy, on the other hand, spends most of his time playing a live action form of Dungeons and Dragons, which no one thinks is at all strange. Was Dungeons and Dragons way more mainstream in the early 80? Or perhaps everyone just acts like this is totally normal behavior because Guy is rich and hot?
Pete is safe and dull, but he’s also a bit possessive (he doesn’t want “to share” Amy). Guy is scary and exciting, but does things like abandon Amy in the woods (on horseback, although she’s never been on a horse before) to run off and kill a dwarf or whatever. It’s fairly obvious that Amy is going to end up picking Pete, but Amy is in constant angst over having to choose between the two of them. I kept wishing someone would point that Amy is 16 and she doesn’t have to choose one of these idiots as a life partner. Why can’t she just date them both for the few weeks she’s on the island? But romance is always serious business in Sweet Dreams books.
Would I want my kid to read it?
I wouldn’t stop him, but I’m not going to suggest to him that it’s a can’t miss classic.
Is there any objectionable content?
No, except for the above-mentioned body shaming.
Can you read it aloud?
It’s long out of print, but it’s not too hard to find used copies.