Princess Academy

( 492 )

Overview

Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with...

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Princess Academy

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Overview

Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Readers enchanted by Hale's Goose Girl are in for an experience that's a bit more earthbound in this latest fantasy-cum-tribute to girl-power. Cheerful and witty 14-year-old Miri loves her life on Mount Eskel, home to the quarries filled with the most precious linder stone in the land, though she longs to be big and strong enough to do quarry work like her sister and father. But Miri experiences big changes when the king announces that the prince will choose a potential wife from among the village's eligible girls-and that said girls must attend a new Princess Academy in preparation. Princess training is not all it's cracked up to be for spunky Miri in the isolated school overseen by cruel Tutor Olana. But through education-and the realization that she has the common mountain power to communicate wordlessly via magical "quarry-speech"-Miri and the girls eventually gain confidence and knowledge that helps transform their village. Unfortunately, Hale's lighthearted premise and underlying romantic plot bog down in overlong passages about commerce and class, a surprise hostage situation and the specifics of "quarry-speech." The prince's final princess selection hastily and patly wraps things up. Ages 9-up. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Shannon Hale's career began with a fascinating retelling of The Goose Girl. One of the invented characters from that book became the heroine of Enna Burning. Now she writes a completely new tale and once again shows us that she knows the language, structure, and images of the world of fairy tales. The story begins in the mountainous region of Mount Eskel, a place where miners remove linder, a sought-after stone. Sometimes they do this without speech, for they have learned to communicate in a whole different way. All but Miri, a child who is not strong and who grieves this separation, as much as she grieves that her mother died at her birth. Everything changes when all the young women in the village must train in a hastily constructed Princess Academy so that one can be chosen to marry the prince. The governess Olana is a harsh task mistress, even cruel, as she crams her unschooled students full of information about poise, reading, and history. For once in her life, Miri is part of a community and she fights for fairness for her fellow students, even as she herself fights to learn. She also faces inner battles, trying to forget her growing love for her childhood friend, Peder, should she have to marry the prince. Coming of age in a princess academy, and understanding her past and her future path, are made stronger by the fairy tale voice Hale creates. This voice allows readers to lose themselves in her stories. 2005, Bloomsbury, Ages 9 to 12.
—Susie Wilde
VOYA
Princess Academy is a delightful read with everything you need in a good fantasy book: action, adventure, romance-and a good kidnapping. Although many people who read this book will not have any connection to Miri's way of life (people usually don't tend goats high on a mountainside their whole lives), Hale's writing places you in the book, so you feel you can relate. The plot seems predictable, like any other book of its genre, but it has a twist that sets it apart and makes it all the more enjoyable. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005, Bloomsbury, 300p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Rebecca Moreland, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature - Mandy Nicoletta
Miri, a girl from the town of Mount Eskel, is one of many girls chosen to take part in a special academy to teach them how to be "Ladies." One of the girls will be chosen by the prince of the kingdom of Danland for his future wife. While at the academy for the required year of training, in addition to learning what it takes to become a Lady, Miri discovers the secret of her town's special communication ability and the connection to their livelihood of quarrying a rare stone called linder. After weeks away from their families, the girls break the unfair academy rules and return home for the spring festival. Upon their return to the academy, they identify a set of terms to which their teacher must agree: they want to be treated as if they are of ‘noble' birth and not commoners. Their teacher agrees to their terms, and her whole attitude instantly changes as she compliments them on learning the lesson of diplomacy and making agreements so well. When the prince finally arrives that winter, the ball goes well, but he does not choose a bride. He leaves to return in the spring, promising to make his choice known then. During his absence, bandits attack the academy and Miri must save the girls from harm using the village's special ability. In the end, will the prince choose Miri or one of the other lovely girls for his bride? Shannon Hale paints a picture of the tale through her superb descriptions of places and people, making the reader "see" everything that happens to Miri and her friends. This is a delightful tale for everyone who loves the fantasy that even a common girl can become a princess.
Children's Literature - Jeanne K. Pettenati J.D.
Fourteen-year-old Miri lives on Mount Eskel with her beloved father and sister Marta. When their king issues an edict that the prince's bride-to-be must come from Mount Eskel, Miri leaves home with the other young girls to attend a Princess Academy. Olana, the harsh woman who oversees the academy, never lets the girls forget that they are peasants from a rough land. The Mount Eskel girls do not know how to read and write. Miri and the others have never seen a city. And they certainly have never fantasized about being a princess. Until now. Miri is conflicted about leaving her home and attending the academy. Her friendship with young Peter has become more complicated, as feelings she doesn't understand seep into her consciousness. The idea of becoming a princess is alluring, but what is the prince like as a person? Personalities emerge and grudges intensify as the girls spend more and more time holed up in the academy. Olana is unforgiving and cruel at times. She locks Miri in a closet for hours after the girl speaks out of turn. A rat torments Miri during her time in the closet. She is saved when she uses "quarry speak" and one of the other girls named Gertie hears her. Quarry speak is how the miners on Mount Eskel communicate with each other when they are working in the quarry and cannot be heard over their loud tools. This audio book contains eight CDs, which run for one hour each. Miri is a compelling protagonist, clever, sweet-natured and bighearted, but insecure. The other girls and characters are unique individuals who come to life as their words are voiced by the excellent voice actors. This recording is based on the novel of the same name, which was a 2006 Newbery Honor Book.Highly recommend for long car trips and family listening, this unabridged audio book never fails. The plot, characters, and writing are first-rate. Readers will identify with Miri and be pulled along as they navigate the engaging story line. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-The thought of being a princess never occurred to the girls living on Mount Eskel. Most plan to work in the quarry like the generations before them. When it is announced that the prince will choose a bride from their village, 14-year-old Miri, who thinks she is being kept from working in the quarry because of her small stature, believes that this is her opportunity to prove her worth to her father. All eligible females are sent off to attend a special academy where they face many challenges and hardships as they are forced to adapt to the cultured life of a lowlander. First, strict Tutor Olana denies a visit home. Then, they are cut off from their village by heavy winter snowstorms. As their isolation increases, competition builds among them. The story is much like the mountains, with plenty of suspenseful moments that peak and fall, building into the next intense event. Miri discovers much about herself, including a special talent called quarry speak, a silent way to communicate. She uses this ability in many ways, most importantly to save herself and the other girls from harm. Each girl's story is brought to a satisfying conclusion, but this is not a fluffy, predictable fairy tale, even though it has wonderful moments of humor. Instead, Hale weaves an intricate, multilayered story about families, relationships, education, and the place we call home.-Linda L. Plevak, Saint Mary's Hall, San Antonio, TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
There are many pleasures to this satisfying tale: a precise lyricism to the language ("The world was as dark as eyes closed" or "Miri's laugh is a tune you love to whistle") and a rhythm to the story that takes its tropes from many places, but its heart from ours. Miri is very small; her father has never let her work in the linder stone quarries where her village makes its living and she fears that it's because she lacks something. However, she's rounded up, with the other handful of girls ages 12 to 17, to be taught and trained when it's foreseen that the prince's bride will come from their own Mount Eskel. Olana, their teacher, is pinched and cruel, but Miri and the others take to their studies, for it opens the world beyond the linder quarries to them. Miri seeks other learning as well, including the mindspeech that ties her to her people, and seems to work through the linder stone itself. There's a lot about girls in groups, both kind and cutting; a sweet boy; the warmth of friends, fathers and sisters; and the possibility of being chosen by a prince one barely knows. The climax involving evil brigands is a bit forced, but everything else is an unalloyed joy. (Fantasy. 9-14)
From the Publisher
"Shannon Hale's books reignite my love of reading—that joy of having the time of my life with a great story." —Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight

"This is not a fluffy, predictable fairy tale . . . . Instead Hale weaves an intricate, multilayered story about families, relationships, education, and the place we call home." —School Library Journal, starred review

"The book is a fresh approach to the traditional princess story with unexpected plot twists and great emotional resonance." —2006 Newbery Committee

"Palace of Stone . . . proves once again that with quick wit and brave words, one person really can change the world." —School Library Journal on Princess Academy: Palace of Stone

"Powerful and deeply engaging." —Kirkus Reviews on Princess Academy: Palace of Stone

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582349930
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 7/6/2005
  • Series: Princess Academy Series
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 328,793
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.73 (w) x 7.57 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Shannon Hale

Shannon’s mother says she was a storyteller from birth, jabbering endlessly in her carriage as the two strolled through the neighborhood; once she could form complete sentences, she made up stories, bribing her younger siblings to perform them in mini plays. When she was ten, she began writing books, mostly fantasy stories where she was the heroine, and she continued writing secretly for years while pursuing acting in stage and improv comedy. After detours studying in Mexico, the U. K., and Paraguay, Shannon earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Utah and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Montana. In the interim, she submitted short stories and novels to magazines and publishers, saving all her rejection letters which she has since laminated into one continuous 60-foot roll which she proudly unfurls to audiences as a testament to her dedication and determination.

Since the publication of her first book, The Goose Girl, in 2003, Shannon has become a beloved author to young readers as well as booksellers and educators. Her third novel, Princess Academy, earned her a Newbery Honor and is a The New York Times, Book Sense, and Publishers Weekly bestseller. Shannon has also written two books for adults, Austenland and The Actor and the Housewife. Shannon lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, Dean, their children, and their pet, a small plastic pig.

www.shannonhale.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 492 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(352)

4 Star

(91)

3 Star

(33)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 493 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Princess Academy

    This really is a good book. The protagonist Miri's yearning is to work in the quarry like everyone else on Mount Eskel, but she is too small to fulfill her dream. One day, a delegate from the royal court comes to Eskel saying that all the girls on the mountain must attend the academy to learn how to become a princess, and at the end of their stay at the school, the prince will choose a bride. Miri, of course, must go to the school, and there the girls face bitter treatment from Tutor Olana. But Miri finds herself in the reading and writing aspects of school and befriends some girls while making enemies with others. Who will the prince choose? What are Miri's friends hiding? Read this book to find out!

    45 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2005

    Outstanding Novel

    Shannon Hale, not exactly new, but not exactly old to the book market, recently released her newest work, Princess Academy. A book worth every star, Princess Academy is a lovely book that kept me reading all night. Princess Academy is a beautifully written work of art about fourteen-year-old Miri, who is sent off to the Princess Academy in hopes of being chosen to be the Princess. Though discouraged by her peers, Miri helps save her friends, her enemies, and herself. The book shows that even the smallest things can make the largest difference. I applaud Shannon Hale for her skill in writing.

    28 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

    To be a princess, to marry a prince, to wear a beautiful crown, and to sit in a elegant throne. Is that not every girl's dream? It may be most girls', but not Miri's. Miri may not be too excited about marrying a lowlander, even if he is a prince, but she does want to impress her father, and her older sister. Miri agrees to be sent to the Princess Academy, a large building set in the mountains of Eskel. She and the other girls learn proper etiquette, and they are taught how to bring out the strong conscience in all of their minds. Miri, Britta, Esa, Katar, and other girls are sent to the academy and get punished for no reason at all. Can Miri prove that while she may be small, she is strong?<BR/><BR/> Miri is a skinny, mischievous girl, who believes that anyone can overcome their fears and any approaching evil. She is aided in her many pranks by her best friend, Britta. Britta is a lowlander, not born on Mount Eskel. Britta despises Olana just as much as Miri, and has helped Miri throughout the story. Olana is the harsh, determined, fiery, and forever changing antagonist of the story. Many other secondary characters, including Knut, Esa, Katar, Frid, Pa, Peder, and Marda, are all important people to Miri, and they all support The Princess Academy in their own important ways, perhaps fighting off bandits, or chipping pieces of linder off the sides of Mount Eskel.<BR/><BR/> This book is a hilarious, heartwarming, and surprising mix of love stories, fantasy, rebellion, independence, and cooperation. The Princess Academy, written by Shannon Hale, also author of Goose Girl, sets a model for other girls to be strong and to listen to their hearts. This realistic fiction book has a plot loaded with action, keeping you on board, interested, and able to connect yourself with the characters, giving you a clearer picture inside the characters' plots, making it easier to enjoy the book. Shannon Hale has written a multitude of books, all just as good of a page turner as The Princess Academy, a heartwarming book for all ages.

    17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    Wonderful book

    I am an adult who loves to read adolescent literature (I am a former English teacher), and I adored this book. It is entertaining, well-written, CLEAN, and unique. I can't wait to introduce this to my own daughters.

    14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    My Favorite book!

    wow! I was shocked at how amazing the story is! I mean i've read it about 5 times and i am reading right mow its in my lap! It is so descriptive and humble. I have totally nailed quarry speech and i even did all the litericy circle questions!

    14 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't put it down!

    WARNING: This book is highly addictive! The story pulled me in from the very beginning of the novel and I would just keep reading and reading. The light humor makes it really fun and the more the story told me about Mount Eskel, the more into it I would get. In fact, I was disappointed when I finished the book! I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read a different kind of story than usual.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    Ok

    Not for young kids. I read this in 3rd grade and i HATED it! If ur 10 and up, or just like a lot of details, u will like it

    10 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    Amazinggg!!

    Loved it and it is definately not your typical prince charming book either!

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2008

    Whoa Dude

    I absolutely loved this book and i think it is a great read for anyone who is looking for adventure and exitment! This is my favorite book of all time!!!

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    I will try it

    I have never read this book before but with all these good reviews i think i will try it.

    8 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013

    M

    One of my most favorite books. It contains exciting conflicts and adventure, but down to earth things too.(Like a first crush) Miri is so inspiring and a relatable and realisic character. The author of this book had me hooked and left me dreading the ending. I would consider this a must read. I would recomened it for girls 9 to 12 but I'm older than that and still love it. You would be able to find this in most libraries since it is a newberry honor book, so I would suggest you check it out before buying it.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2006

    What a great book

    This was my favorite book of this school year. I am an elementary school librarian and this was just a great discovery for me. Some students are turned off by the title but once they read it they love it. One student read it four times in one week. The storyline is so interesting that it is hard to put down.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2008

    WOW

    The title of this book seems like a story of a rich little princess and at rich little snobby school. That is totally NOT how this book is. This is a very humble story that is great for any age!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2005

    A fantastic book!

    This book was excellent. I couldn't put it down! It was beautifully written- had good characters, a good strong plot, and great descriptions. It is the tale of Miri, a fourteen year old girl who was small for her age. She was put down by the girls at the academy, she still tried to make a difference, and was nice to those who weren't nice to her. This book is great. I guarentee you'll love this book!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Looove this book

    What a cute, fun story for all ages. And not too girly.





    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 29, 2012

    EVERY LITTLE GIRLS DREAM

    EVERY LITTLE GIRLS DREAM
    Princess Academy
    by Shannon Hale

    Princess Academy by Shannon Hale is a 2006 Newberry Award winner. This children's novel is one that any young girl would enjoy reading. It is an account of a young girl named Miri who comes from a not so fortunate background, but is graced with the opportunity to become a princess if she is chosen after she &quot;graduates&quot; from the Princess Academy. This is such great news to her because she is an outcast within her community, with only a relationship with her father, sister, and her childhood playmate Peder. She longs for a place in her little world and desperately wishes for better living conditions for not only her, but the people around her.
    Despite the prejudices between quarry and lowlanders, and the competition between the girls to become the town princess, Miri not only develops helpful friendships, but also learns the unspoken language and learns commerce. This is an unusual &quot;happily ever after&quot; story in that, Miri may or may not win the title of princess in the end, but she manages to learn more about herself, others, and also help her community prosper due to her newly learned skills at the Princess Academy.
    This novel is a must for young girls. It is intriguing and allows girls of all sorts to relate to the aspirations of becoming a young, beautiful woman. I will definitely have this in my teacher library and recommend it to the girls in my class. It will beneficially help them to see the importance of friends despite preexisting conditions and competition.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    The Book

    This book was the best book ever. I am in 7th grade. It is about this girl named Miri who goes to this princess academey along with all the other girls from her village. She encounters different adventures, a must read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2008

    Not Worth Your Time or Money

    The time that I read this book was when for a Literature Book Study. At first I was excited cause the book seemed awesome at first, but as soon as I read the first 5 chapters I was really disappointed. The book was slow and boring. I honestly do not recommend this book.

    4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2013

    LOVE BOOKS!

    This is an amazing strory! I love the connection between Miri and Peder. It is amazing how they can commuicate when they are so far away. This is a must read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

    Oh my gosh, what an awesome book

    This is the best book ever. I have read #1 & #2 and they were great. This is my most very favorite book in the world. The main character, Miri goes to the princess acadamy and is captured by bandits. You have to read the book

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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