The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich is almost exactly what the cover suggests: a whimsical queer romance with lots of cheese. As the descendant of a long line of dairy farmers (to this day), I'm a big fan of cheese. The silly title caught my eye, but it's the delightful main character, a Count's daughter (Lady Camembert) who hooked me. The book opens as her father confronts her about her refusal of yet another male suitor. Though he is accepting of her lack of attraction to men, he's dying and she can't inherit as an unmarried woman. Thus begins Cam's life as the new Count Camembert, who quickly makes a splash in high society and woos Princess Brie.
Muniz's illustration is bright, emotive and almost whimsical. The characters and the creator are clearly into fashion, so there are lots of fun dresses and suits. The plot is pretty over-the-top, but in a way that really worked for me. Most of all, the friends Cam makes are funny and the romance is swoony. I loved the scenes in which Cam is dramatically throwing herself around her apartment while her lady's maid is trying to curb her worst impulses.
As with most "girl in pants" stories, there's some gender essentialism in this one. I think because it's a sapphic story, however, the whole thing comes off better than when it's a male love interest. In those cases, the MMC is often appalled at the idea that he might be attracted to a man, but lucky for him, he's not! In this case, when Brie learns Cam's true identity, she has a bit of a panic but eventually realizes she's bi/pan and that's fine. I'm not sure how this will hit for trans readers, but it didn't feel anywhere near as ick as some historical romances I've read have.
The Princess and the Grilled Cheese gets an enthusiastic recommendation from me. The puns were punny, the friendships brightened my day and the happy ending made me very happy. This is a kisses only, low stress, great read for YA and adult audiences.
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Content Notes: death of parent, grief, girl in pants trope, homophobia (mentioned)