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Princess Academy

Review

Princess Academy

For as long as fourteen-year-old Miri can remember, her family and friends have always lived on Mount Eskel, an isolated territory in the Danland kingdom. The villagers, including her Pa and older sister Marda, make a living on the stone they quarry themselves from the mountain. The work is difficult and their living modest, but Miri still hopes to work in the quarry someday. Her Pa, however, doesn't like the idea and refuses to let his younger daughter work in the quarry. Miri --- named after a small blue mountain flower --- believes the reason is because she's smaller than most girls her age.

Then one day, the traders arrive with a royal delegate from the lowlands. The delegate announces that the prince is searching for a bride, and that the priests have divined that the next princess will come from Mount Eskel. The prince himself will travel to the village to choose his bride. In the meantime, all the eligible girls must attend an academy to learn the skills needed to be a princess. The village is a little wary of the surprising news, but reluctantly agree to have the girls attend the academy.

The girls enter the makeshift academy and are immediately set to a strict schedule, with an equally demanding tutor named Olana. The academy soon becomes unbearable for Miri, who realizes that she is an outcast and is considered to be strong competition by some of the older girls. The only thing that keeps Miri going is the desire to learn the mysterious language of quarry-speech and to be the Academy Princess --- a title that proves to be more valuable than being a potential bride. Just when things begin turning around for Miri, the prince makes a startling decision and the academy is put in a dangerous situation from which only Miri can rescue them.

PRINCESS ACADEMY is the strong, well-written story of one girl's determination to show that even a small mountain flower can be as valuable as a gold crown.

Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle on April 17, 2007

Princess Academy
(Princess Academy #1)
by Shannon Hale