The Princess of Baker Street

Young Adult - General
182 Pages
Reviewed on 01/23/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Princess of Baker Street is a young adult coming of age novel written by Mia Kerick. Eric Sinclair and Joey Kinkaid had always been best friends, and they were the focal point of the Baker Street gang, five kids who ran and played and pursued a grand fantasy of the imagination. Joey was their Princess Ariel, and the gang had no issue with that, until they all got a little bit older. Now that they were in middle school, however, Travis and Lily made it their goal in life to torment Joey, and Eric’s own home situation made it imperative that he not get involved or in trouble at school. When their geography teacher assigned Eric and Joey to be study partners, Eric was conflicted. He feared the condemnation and scorn of his peers at school, but, even more so, he loved being part of Joey’s life again. He just couldn’t understand why Joey did the things that made his time in school so very difficult.

Mia Kerick’s young adult coming of age novel, The Princess of Baker Street, is a beautifully written and compelling story about a transgender teen and her childhood friends. I loved witnessing the story through Eric’s eyes and felt for him as he struggled to keep his awful home situation a secret. While Joey’s story is the dominant theme here, Eric’s tale is equally transfixing, and their interactions make this coming of age novel an unforgettable one. Kerick’s depiction of a transgender teen and the stresses and strains of life both at home and in school experienced by her is right on point. Kerick’s characters are remarkably real, and her storytelling is powerful. The Princess of Baker Street is most highly recommended.

Amanda Rofe

The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick is a young adult novel about the trials and tribulations of Joey Kinkaid. Joey feels, from an early age, that he really should have been a girl. This is his journey from innocent childhood adventures with his best friend, Eric Sinclair, to living as a girl. His journey is not easy. His father does not support his transition and he is bullied by his peers at middle school. When he begins openly dressing more like a girl, school life becomes unbearable for him. Eric is going through his own problems. Struggling to survive neglect in his home life, he just wants to avoid trouble so he keeps his head down. Unfortunately, Eric's personal problems mean he just doesn't have the strength to support his friend and they inevitably drift apart. Is this a permanent rift or will the two friends find a way to come together again?

Princess of Baker Street is a gritty coming of age drama that has been beautifully written. The story is pertinent and realistic. The characters are very appealing, particularly the two protagonists. Mia Kerick skilfully explores the confusion felt by everyone surrounding the issues of gender identity, not just the person going through the transition. She accurately observes the dynamics between family members, close friends and the school peer group, which is absolutely fascinating. The portrayal of these complex relationships is sensitive and poignant. This is a great book suitable for teens upwards. I would not put an upper age limit on the readership. I am sure other adults will enjoy it just as much as I did.

Lit Amri

Joey Kinkaid is smart, pretty, and a good friend. He’s also a boy who likes to wear girlie clothes and is terribly bullied by the other kids. Eric Sinclair is Joey’s former best friend and admirer. As they started middle school, Eric decided that distancing himself from Joey would save him from being the social outcast. However, it’s hard for him to see his childhood playmate suffer from the constant bullying. When Joey’s resolve finally snaps, will Eric stand up for him before it’s too late?

The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick is narrated in Eric’s first-person POV and the prose mirrors the adolescence of the character. Instantly, readers get the sense and perhaps are reminded of the difficulty of being different in a cruel and dangerous juvenile world. It’s interesting but sad as Eric struggles with his conscience of doing the right thing or keeping his school life trouble free as much as possible, especially when he has no support from his absent mother. The flashbacks of his memories of his younger, happier days with Joey and the other kids are sweet, innocent moments where it was all about fun and not discrimination. Emotional growth of the characters is well explored and deftly developed in Part II of the story. I have a soft spot for Emily, who’s always been more mature than the rest of the kids.

Kerick’s The Princess of Baker Street is a moving read about gender identity, bullying, family problems, depression, suicide, and transgender. They are heavy matters but important to be contemplated by society, especially people who lack understanding of the hardships that the LGBTQ community has to face.