Not Your Average Princess

4 01 2015

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I just finished another book. Though it doesn’t fit well into the Read Harder challenge, I liked it so much I thought I should share. I picked up Princess Academy – Amazon because I have enjoyed several of Shannon Hale’s other books. B loves The Princess in Black, and I have enjoyed her Austenland books. (Go check these out!)

I was expecting a fun take on the princess trope, somewhat like The Princess in Black, but Princess Academy is a complete departure. To start with, the girls in the titular academy are not, in fact, princesses. It has been foretold that the prince will marry a girl from a small mountain territory. To prepare the simple country folk for low country life, all eligible girls must attend year-long princess training.

For a children’s book, this story is full of nuance. Many of the girls struggle with whether they would even want to be the princess, facing competing pulls of home and power. Miri, the main character, searches for ways to use her newfound knowledge to benefit her community.

There’s a wee bit of action, a lot of heart, some convincing mystical elements, and a wide range of emotions. This book well deserves its Newberry Award.

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