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Princess Academy Hardcover – June 16, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
And that is precisely why Princess Academy by Shannon Hale is essential reading. If a novel that's written in a seemingly tired subgenre manages to win a major award as this one did, something new and amazing must have happened there so as to overcome the reading audience's prejudice.
And Princess Academy was an original and amazing read. It was entirely worthy of being named a Newbery Honor award; in fact, it should have won the top award.
The main character, Miri, is fascinating. Bold, courageous, smart, funny. She's an utter joy to read about. As is the culture that Hale has created for the novel.
And there's nothing tired about this plot. Hale echoes some of the princess fairy tale conventions, but she's really remade this fairy tale story quite successfully. Just when you think you've got the plot pegged, there's a twist that throws you. A relationship develops as you didn't think it would, or a surprising enemy arises. It's an entirely involving story.
The story contains surprising layers of meaning, too. The relationships have depth, and there are valuable social messages here.
It's a really strong novel, definitely the best book I've read this year (regardless of genre).
"Criss Cross by Lynn Rae Perkins".
"Uh-huh. Is it any good?"
"Yep. It's nice".
"So what else got awards?"
"Well, there was something called Whittington by Alan Armstrong, Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson, Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, and of course The Princess Academy..."
"The PRINCESS Academy? Oh, ick, yuck, puke!"
"...by Shannon Hale. You've read it?"
"Well...no, not exactly. But how good could anything called The Princess Academy be?"
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a rough equivalent of several conversations I've had with various people in regards to Shannon Hale's latest little nugget of gold. Say the words "Princess Academy" to the well-read and instantly their faces scrunch up and either the word "ew" or the word "ugh" emits from their lips. Ask them if they've read the book themselves and you'll undoubtedly get a quick shake of the head. It isn't the actual book they don't like. It's the title. I imagine there must have been some long conversations over at Bloomsbury Children's Books when this title was proposed. On the one hand, if you put the word "Princess" in a title you can link it the oh-so profitable "Princess Diaries", Disney "Princess" line, and even the "Royal Diaries" line of books. On the other hand, you're going to lose numerous parents, educators, librarians, masculine readers, and other members of society who take one look at the title and brush it off. I gave the book a long hard look before I plunged into it. This I admit freely.Read more ›
While the story recognizes deeper and larger issues such as how society views differing classes and the often overwhelming and almost hopeless struggle to achieve success (or what we believe to be success), the fairy tale nature of this book makes it charming and engaging, presenting only gentle and subtle messages.
Though this story likely will appeal mainly to girls, it is an entertaining tale for all ages and peoples. Even boys and men should be encouraged to read this book, if only to gain a greater understanding of girls and women - their hopes, dreams, reasoning, and challenges.
Ms. Hale tells a timeless tale which proves that girls never really change. Times change, and surroundings change, but girls never really change. I truly believe that "a fairy lives in every girl's heart." Having read The Princess Academy, I now also believe that every girl is a princess, even grown up girls.
J.H. Sweet, author of The Fairy Chronicles
The only thing I didn't particularly care for was the resolution of the life of the character Britt. The explanation of her circumstances was a bit too facile and abrupt.
This is not a glitzy book with modern royalty obsession, though it does cover some of the same territory: learning manners, etiquette, and how to behave at a ball. The emphasis here, though, is on empowering rural mountain people through reading and education in commerce to make their lives better. Mira, the main character, and the other girls learn to read and ultimately improve the lives of their entire community.
All in all, though, I really enjoyed this book. Some books I feel I SHOULD enjoy and struggle to finish, but this one I read straight through, putting aside all other distractions. That has to say something about the book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely delightful YA adventure. Don't be fooled by the fluffy sounding name - this story is deep, but acessable.Published 1 month ago by ACAL
Read for a book report. One of my new favs. It only took me one week to read it. So ecieted for the next bookPublished 1 month ago by Anna W.
I enjoy a well-written, imaginative fantasy novel no matter what age group it's intended for. This was a nice, character-driven story, with one of the most likable main characters... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kay L. Ling
I liked this book very much and recommend it for all ages of girls, boys, men, and women. The descriptions and analogies paint vivid pictures.Published 2 months ago by lavendarma
hmmm lots of put down here in the reviews I have to say the reason I came on this page was that I was researching to see if there was any news of a part 4 i've enjoyed all these... Read morePublished 2 months ago by MMM
Wasn't hardcover but the cover art was still the same and the book was like brand new: binding wasn't creased, no folded or torn pages. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Incredible story, teaching about kindness, working together, and importance of education. Best part the children readers don't realize it is a lesson. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kelley A Johnson
I found this very enjoyable. The premise and the plot are both fairly clever and overall it's well written. Certain characters are fairly intriguing. Some others not so much. Read morePublished 3 months ago by M. Doenges