Title : Princess Academy
Author : Shannon Hale
Stand Alone or Series : #1 in the Princess Academy Series
Publication date : April 17, 2007
Pages : 336
Three Words : middle grade, fantasy, fairy tale elements
Red Flags : none (appropriate for younger adolescents)
Summary : So Miri lives in a remote village on the mountainside. The villagers have mined the stone quarries for a special type of rock for generations. Miri, however, is not allowed to mine the quarries but is responsible for all things domestic which she is not too jazzed about. So she is jealous of her sister and thinks that her father doesn’t respect her, plus she has all these feelings for her boyhood friend but she doesn’t feel worthy. It’s a very confusing time for poor Miri.
Then – news from the king! The king’s diviners have pinpointed where the next girl to marry the Crown Prince should come from (apparently this is something they do for each prince) – Miri’s village. Suddenly each teenage girl is forced to attend a school set up in the mountains – a princess academy. There Miri contends with an extremely harsh schoolmistress, the other girls’ intense jealousy and competition, not to mention her own feelings that maybe she doesn’t want to marry that stinking prince!
When bandits decide to invade the academy in order to kidnap the future princess, Miri and her companions must use all their wits to save themselves. Will they succeed? Who will marry the prince?
My Take : Have you ever read a book that you really didn’t want to like but found yourself unable to put down? That was this one for me. It is completely written for a middle grade/young adolescent audience and you knows I loves my sex, violence, bad language and drugs! When I first started the book, I kept thinking “this is cute and all but booorrrringg.” But then I started to notice that Miri was a female character that I really started to like and respect. She doesn’t always do things right and occasionally she even acts like a brat but in the end she is brace, resourceful, intelligent and caring. When I think of things I would like my daughters or myself to be, these rank right up there. Next, I just got sucked into the whole story. As you know I love the learning at school trope, I couldn’t wait to see what Miri would do. As she tries to strike up friendships with the other girls, sometimes succeeding but sometimes not. Miri struggles with whether she even wants to marry the prince – thank you Shannon Hale for making it totally believable. In the end, I really liked this book and I would recommend it. Sometimes it is ok for a story not to include all the violence, sex, etc… in the world – Don’t worry dear readers I won’t make it a habit 😉
Rating : eight and a half shoes – flat knee high boots that you can wear with EVERYTHING (I need some and it has been on my mind)