written by Shannon Hale
314 pages // published in 2005 // children's fiction // fairytale
Miri is a young girl who lives in a mountain village, where, for generations, her people have mined in the quarry for their precious stone.
When the king's ministers visit Mount Eskel to say that the prince will choose one of their girls as his bride, shock ripples through the village. Why would they choose such a small place to choose such an important person from -- especially from girls who know nothing about becoming a princess? Thus, an academy is set up on the mountain, and all girls of age must attend for a year to learn EVERYTHING -- from grammar to history to etiquette.
Brought into the story is a telepathic element -- the people of Mount Eskel can mentally send phrases to each other when in the mine surrounded by the special type of stone they excavate. This element didn't seem out of place in a fairytale sort of story, and it showed how well these people worked together in a close-knit community.
It's a very simple sort of story -- fairytale sweet. It's charming enough, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would have. I did like how Miri persevered in her challenges and attempted to learn about and conquer a "wall" in her life. She tries to help her village the best she can, even though she thinks little of her capabilities.
Princess Academy is available on Amazon as hardcover, paperback and e-book.
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