The Princess of Baker Street
Published by: Harmony Ink Press
Publication date: January 22nd 2019
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
“Always wear your imaginary crown” is Joey Kinkaid’s motto. For years, Joey, assigned male at birth, led the Baker Street kids in daring and imaginative fantasy adventures, but now that they’re teenagers, being a princess is no longer quite so cool. Especially for a child who is seen by the world as a boy.
Eric Sinclair has always been Joey’s best friend and admirer—Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel—but middle school puts major distance between them. As Eric’s own life takes a dangerous turn for the worse, he stands by and watches as Joey—who persists in dressing and acting too much like a Disney princess for anybody’s comfort—gets bullied. Eric doesn’t like turning his back on Joey, but he’s learned that the secret to teenage survival, especially with and absent mother, is to fly under the radar.
But when Joey finally accepts who she is and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies make her life such a misery that she decides to end it all. Eric, in turn, must decide who he really is and what side he wants to stand on… though no matter what he chooses, the consequences with be profound for both teens, and they’ll face them for years to come.
Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?
Mia Kerick’s Princess of Baker Street is a heart-wrenching story about acceptance and bullying. The blurb is a bit misleading, though. I’m not sure why, but I thought that the story would focus mainly on Joey…on the journey s/he goes through. Instead, the reader finds themselves dropped into the mind of Eric.
The mental gymnastics Eric goes through are extremely relatable and understanding. Even if we were Joey growing up, we were also Eric. Eric is the every-kid character, in that he isn’t the active bully, but the one who doesn’t stop it out of self-preservation. Eric is the kid that everybody can relate to because he’s not a villain, but he’s not the hero. Kerick really makes it easy to immerse yourself into the mind of Eric and to see where he stands and how he feels.
I think the most interesting thing about the story isn’t Joey’s struggles, though. It’s Eric’s. Not only are we immersed in this world of emerging sexuality and struggles with that, Eric has a whole private world in his house that he’s trying to get through. It’s fairly typical of junior high and the poor kid struggles with a mother who isn’t there, feelings for his friend, struggling in school, and trying to fit in and just SURVIVE middle school. It’s easy to be frustrated with Eric in the beginning, but the reader quickly starts to really understand and feel for him. Through the lens of Eric’s eyes, we keep an eye on the fact that Joey isn’t welcome at school and struggles to find acceptance by his father while being true to himself.
I expected a POV change every now and then to give us greater insight into Joey’s transformation, but Kerick sticks with Eric for the entirety of the novel. I honestly enjoyed this story and truly compassionate and loving look at the lives of two friends who are both struggling with life in their own ways. Grab your copy below!
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son, heading off to college. (Yes, the nest is finally empty.) She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing scholarship essays. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it’s a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled people in complex relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for Young Adult e-book Fiction, among other awards.
Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology. Contact Mia at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit at http://www.miakerickya.com to see what is going on in Mia’s world.