Pertinent Info

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Bloomsbury USA, 2008)
I read it in the winter of 2010

Why’d I Read It?

I spend Monday afternoons shelving books, checking books out for kids, and being generally helpful (I hope) in the library at the boys’ school.  I often finish a bit before school lets out, grab a book off the shelves, and read.  This one took me a couple of months, reading in five- to fifteen-minute chunks.

What I Thought

Well, I’m a sucker for princess stories, especially princess stories turned on their ears.  I have to admit, however, that the fact that it’s a Newbury honoree put me on the defensive at the start.

Don’t get me wrong: I have immense respect for the Newbury awards and am in awe of every author who has written to such a level to receive recognition.  It’s just that Newbury books are usually so heavy.  They’re wonderful, insightful, brilliant, and – often – downright depressing.  Of course, there are many exceptions, so it doesn’t stop me from reading them, but it does mean I put a shield on my emotions whenever I crack one open.

This may be why I found Princess Academy to be so refreshing.  Hale managed to walk the line between light-hearted and meaningful beautifully.  (Seemingly effortlessly, although I know it must not have been.)  Miri is a delightful protagonist, and while the climax and denouement weren’t unpredictable, it was a thoroughly engaging read.  I think this is one of a growing number of novels that can bridge the gap between literature for kids and adults.  Now I just have to figure out how to get the boys to read a book with “Princess” in the title.

For some wonderful reviews and insight, I recommend checking out the reviews over at Amazon.

Would I Recommend It?

To readers young and old[er]!