The Runaway Princess [NOOK Book]

Overview

"A dragon darkens our dells. A witch haunts our woods. Bandits roam our moors" . . . King Stromgard swept on. "In the tradition of so many monarchs, I offer my daughter's hand in marriage and half my kingdom to the prince who can rid us of these evils, restoring peace and prosperity to our realm."



And so the contest in the Kingdom of Greeve begins. But Princess Margaret is not your traditional princess. Meg firmly objects to her parents' giving her away, and she certainly has...

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The Runaway Princess

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Overview

"A dragon darkens our dells. A witch haunts our woods. Bandits roam our moors" . . . King Stromgard swept on. "In the tradition of so many monarchs, I offer my daughter's hand in marriage and half my kingdom to the prince who can rid us of these evils, restoring peace and prosperity to our realm."



And so the contest in the Kingdom of Greeve begins. But Princess Margaret is not your traditional princess. Meg firmly objects to her parents' giving her away, and she certainly has no intention of remaining in the tower where she is sequestered. Instead, she sets out to win the contest herself by enlisting the help of her good friend, her loyal maid, an eager guardsman, a young wizard, and a tenacious witch. Does Meg find her distinct place in the kingdom, or is she doomed to fulfill her royal duties?



Kate Coombs weaves a magical tale full of pesky princes, enchanted frogs, a beady-eyed scarf, and invisibility juice - a tale of wonder, but a story familiar to all who struggle to find their own place in the world.



The Runaway Princess is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.



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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this parody of traditional fairy tale motifs, first-time novelist Coombs introduces a host of comical heroes, heroines, villains and buffoons. Meg, the only daughter of King Stomgard and Queen Istilda, is not your ordinary princess. She detests frilly dresses and would rather chase frogs than learn to embroider. What 15-year-old Meg hates most is being "sequestered" in a tower while princes from far and wide contend for her hand in marriage. The contest consists of three tasks: slaying a dragon, hunting down a witch and ridding the kingdom of bandits. Employing her wits, agility, and quite a lot of help from Cam, the gardener's boy, and Dilly, the princess's personal maid, Meg manages to escape her prison and embark on the wildest adventure of her life. Her goal is to beat the royal contenders at their own game and thus avoid matrimony. Meg's quest to stay one step ahead of her suitors is sure to keep readers entertained, especially when the dragon, witch and bandits turn out to be far more amiable than the vain "bread-for-brains" princes, and Meg receives magical trinkets that enable her to perform some interesting tricks. Reminiscent of Shrek and Once Upon a Mattress, this pleasingly twisty tale offers rib-tickling surprises around every corner. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Eileen Kuhl
This clever debut novel features a spunky and likeable heroine in Meg. Decrying the role of swooning, beautiful princess, she faces her family's disapproval with admirable intelligence and courage, giving a new twist to the classic princess story. Meg's father, at the suggestion of his prime minister, organizes a contest involving the completion of three tasks-the banishment of the witch, the slaying of a dragon, and the capture of the kingdom's roaming bandits-to win the hand of his daughter. A gathering of inept, arrogant, and conceited princes invade the kingdom of Greeve, but Meg devises her own plan to foil the princes by completing the three tasks herself. Her friends help to free her from the tower in which she is sequestered, and she is able to befriend the witch, tame the dragon, and fight the bandits. Coombs creates a humorous witch with substandard magic, a loveable baby dragon, and a Robin Hood-like group of bandits led by a woman. This a light, humorous fantasy has appealing, well-rounded characters. Meg, Dilly the maid, Cam the gardener, the witch, the wizard, and even the evil princes and robbers are interesting and memorable. Meg's dangerous adventure across the kingdom involves magic, fantasy, humor, spells, frequent obstacles, and many frustrations, but the ending is satisfying if not classic happily-ever-after. Friendship, loyalty, and being true to oneself give this novel an engaging contemporary theme. Readers who enjoy Donna Napoli's fractured fairy tales or the spunky heroines in Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1997/VOYA August 1997) and Margaret Haddix's Just Ella (Simon & Schuster, 1999/VOYA December 1999) will enjoy this nontraditionalfairy tale.
Children's Literature - Denise Daley
A magical mythical adventure awaits readers of this enchanting story. It all begins in the olden Kingdom of Greeve. King Stromgard has a plan that he hopes can help save his troubled empire. The king announces that he will give half of his kingdom and his daughter's hand in marriage to the first prince that can complete a series of perilous missions. The daring prince must rid the land of a dangerous dragon, an evil witch, and a band of unlawful bandits. Young princess Meg is not your typical princess and she is not too happy with this proposal. Meg would much rather roam in the wilderness than marry a stranger. As a result, she devises a plan of her own. With the help of a few castle hands and some new friends that she makes along the way, Meg escapes the tower where she had been locked. She daringly proves that she can be smarter and more powerful than many of the princes. But is she strong and clever enough to change her determined father's mind? Readers will be spellbound by this captivating and thrilling fantasy story.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Princess Meg, 15, has a problem. Her father, the king of Greeve, has issued a proclamation offering her hand in marriage to any prince who can defeat a dragon, a witch, and a hoard of local bandits. The princess isn't thrilled with this plan. After all, the witch is harmless, the dragon defunct, and the bandits steal from the rich and give to the poor. Unfortunately, because she objects so strongly, she is immediately sequestered to the tower until the contest is over. Fortunately, Meg knows how to get out of a difficult situation, and it's up to her to warn the witch, help the bandits, and take care of a relatively innocent young dragon before some of the less-than-honorable princes wreak havoc on the kingdom. Coombs's good-natured tale is as comfortable poking fun at established fairy-tale tropes as it is honoring them. Readers will have no difficulty rooting for Meg, and the story as a whole is a pleasurable read with amusing details and witty twists. Pair this rousing adventure with Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1997).-Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A delicious princess romp down the well-worn path first paved by The Practical Princess and followed by spunky royal girls ever since. Princess Margaret-Meg-is not at all interested in being bargained away with half the kingdom. She wants to save the dragon, warn the witch and rescue the bandits, while her father wants a gaggle of princes to vanquish them all in the name of economic development. A lot of tropes get stood on their heads here: Meg is imprisoned in a tower, for example, but doesn't take long to wriggle out of it; alert readers will catch references to everything from The Wizard of Oz to Monty Python. Meg bonds with the dragon (only a baby), gets help from the witch (who has turned a great number of princes into frogs) and, assisted by her loyal friends Cam the gardener and Dilly the housemaid, bests a supercilious prince. The bandits, by the way, are led by a woman, and her handsome brother does a pretty good impersonation of a prince. The language is witty and tart and funny, the pace is quick and, in the end, Meg gets to study not only administration and diplomacy, but magic and swordplay. (Fiction. 9-14)
From the Publisher
"A delicious princess romp. Witty and tart and funny." —Kirkus Reviews

"Delightfully devious. Never predictable and frequently hilarious, this is an excellent addition to the bookshelves of Patricia C. Wrede fans." —The Horn Book

"A pleasurable read with amusing details and witty twists." —School Library Journal

"Coombs . . . has created another strong heroine who eschews the trappings of her birth in the pursuit of truth, justice, and adventure." —Booklist

"This clever debut novel features a spunky and likeable heroine in Meg. Engaging." —VOYA

"Reminiscent of Shrek and Once Upon a Mattress, this pleasingly twisty tale offers rib-tickling surprises around every corner." —Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429921855
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 8/8/2006
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,075,702
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • File size: 254 KB

Meet the Author

KATE COOMBS lives in Los Angeles, California. This is her first novel for young readers.



KATE COOMBS is the author of The Runaway Dragon, The Runaway Princess, an ALA Notable Book, and Water Sings Blue, among other books. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
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Read an Excerpt


The Runaway Princess
1MEG RAN ALONG A NARROW PATH TOWARD THE pond that lay hidden in the tall meadow grass northeast of the castle like a duckweed-colored button. Cam, the gardener's boy, came after her, having finished his weeding. Meg could hear frogs hitting the water and ducks scolding away into the rushes as they approached. When they reached the pond, they slowed and moved more quietly, crouching beside the water on opposite sides to catch tadpoles.Cam scooped swiftly, then lifted his hands. "Got one!" he crowed, showing Meg the prisoner cupped in his palms.Meg went him one better. She hitched up her skirts and started after the frogs themselves, like a pink satin heron. Her dress was a great hindrance.Cam glanced over at her. "Don't you have anything less frilly?" he asked."I've told you before, it's all they give me." Meg lunged after another frog and missed."Maybe if you asked ..." Cam suggested."And if I asked for armor and a sword?"Cam slid his tadpole wriggling back into the pond. "I just wondered.""They won't even let me go into Crown without a herd of soldiers and ladies. Anyway, there's something wrong with my parents.""They're sick?""No, not that," Meg told him, knee-deep in water. "But my father spoke to me the other day.""What did he say?""He inquired if I was well," Meg said portentously. Cam waited. "He said he wanted to talk to me sometime soon," she added.Cam was still waiting. A dragonfly careened over the pond."That's all," Meg said with a shrug."Seems ordinary enough.""No. It isn't. He hasn't noticed me in years." Which was why she never talked about him, not even with Cam. She had nothing to say.Cam sat down in the grass and mud on the banks of the pond. "I'm sorry.""I shouldn't complain. At least they're ..." Meg pretended to see an intriguing new frog just to her right."Alive?" Cam said.Meg blushed. Cam's parents were dead. His sisterhad a small farm on the other side of the Witch's Wood. Did it matter terribly that Meg's father was busy being king of Greeve?There really was a frog. Meg reached for it, but it sprang away and disappeared with an irate splash."I wish my mother wouldn't notice me," the princess said.Cam waggled his brown feet in the water. "Why not? Sometimes you make no sense at all.""Because," Meg snapped, "she's been making me embroider for days.""Embroider?" Cam asked. "What for?"Meg pretended to sew the air. "You know, stitchery? She calls it a 'wifely art.'" Meg imitated her mother's voice.Cam snickered. 
Dilly bustled along the hall, her arms full of towels. When she wasn't assisting Sterga, the fourth-floor housekeeper, with the linens, Dilly was Meg's maid. She was usually level-headed and cheerful, but she went all pink and worried as soon as Nort approached her."The princess is wanted in the throne room immediately, and I'm to help you find her!" Nort announced. It would be Nort, Dilly thought irritably. The younger housemaids called him Nort the Creep because he acted as though he was better than anyone, and eavesdropped and told tales to boot."Thank you, but I don't need any help." Dilly tried to leave him behind, but Nort followed."Guard Captain Hanak's orders," said Nort. Not that he was helping. He just trailed around after Dilly, poking his narrow nose into her business.Dilly made a show of opening the door to one of the fourth-floor drawing rooms and closing it again."She's not there?" Nort asked in his oily, sarcastic voice.Dilly spun around. "Go away!""They sent me to help," the apprentice guardsman repeated, leaning his scrawny frame against the nearest wall and folding his arms."You can help somewhere else!" Dilly hissed, folding her own arms.Nort shrugged. "I would think the princess's personal maid would know where she is," he said. "I'll just go tell the king you can't find her.""You can tell Hanak I'm still looking," Dilly answered. She didn't need to remind Nort that the guard captain was her uncle."When I'm a knight, you won't be allowed to talk to me like that," Nort told her."Knight? You'll be lucky to make senior guardsman," Dilly spat, but Nort was already slithering around the corner with a final pointy grin.Dilly waited a moment or two before she hurried away in the opposite direction. She knew exactly where to find Meg. She just didn't want Nort knowing--or telling. On a day like this, when the sky was as blue asMeg's best gown, the princess wouldn't be inside the castle. She would be out in the meadow with the gardener's boy, ruining yet another dress. 
Nort waited till he was out of sight of Meg's maid before he ran all through the twisting corridors and slid to a stop, breathless, beside the throne room doors."No sign of her?" Guard Captain Hanak asked coldly.Hanak was a compact, muscular man with a terrifying blue stare. He'd made it clear he thought Nort got his apprenticeship only because he was the prime minister's third cousin once removed, a relationship the prime minister himself seemed to have since forgotten. "No, sir--Captain Hanak, sir," Nort said."Go back and look again," Hanak told him. Nort scuttled away.Hanak stuck his head into the throne room, where a hundred colorfully dressed courtiers, merchants, and hangers-on buzzed like a garden full of bees. The room made a good garden, as it was hung from floor to ceiling with flower-filled tapestries. A closer look showed knights dying tragically among the roses, but that was proper chivalry for you.At the end of the room, the king and his lady sat on their great, uncomfortable thrones with as much grace as possible--she looking like a hothouse plant in need of water and he like a bad-tempered Percheron. The primeminister caught sight of Hanak and pushed past a gaggle of ladies to reach him. Prime Minister Garald resembled an anemic accountant."Well?" Garald asked."Not yet," Hanak said quietly.The prime minister bit his lip. "Where is she?""No one seems to know."Garald made his way to the king's side."Have you found my daughter?" King Stromgard asked."I'm sorry, Your Majesty--" the prime minister began, but the king was turning to his wife."Istilda, you were supposed to get her dressed and curled for the occasion."The queen grimaced. "You didn't say anything of the sort.""It was implied.""After twenty years, I still can't read your mind. Furthermore, as I told you this morning, I have a headache. I asked you to wait."The king managed to look woeful and hopeful at the same time.His wife relented. "Tell them to check the meadow," she said. "And you should play some music. Or feed these people.""Just what would a royal princess be doing in a meadow?" King Stromgard asked."Embroidering a likeness of the flowers?" the prime minister put in."Enjoying the fresh spring air?" the queen suggested.The king stood, and the room quieted. "The princess will join us shortly," he announced. "We will proceed to the dining hall to await her." 
Meg dove after a frog and missed, falling flat on her face in the water. Cam laughed and laughed."It's not that funny," Meg told him, wringing out her heavy skirts."Yes it is." Then Cam's face changed, looking past her. "Uh-oh," he said."Uh-oh what?" Meg turned around. Dilly was halfway across the meadow, and even from here Meg could tell her maid was frantic. "Oh. Uh-oh," Meg agreed.Ten minutes later, Cam was back in his garden, and Dilly was hurrying a soggy Meg up the steps to the castle. They came around a turn and stopped short at the sight of Nort rushing down."Ah. The missing princess," Nort said slyly."Nort?" Dilly asked."Yes, Dilly?" he said, smirking."Be very careful how you report the fact that the princess is dressing and will be along shortly." Her expression resembled Hanak's at that moment. As for Meg, even though she was still two steps below Nort, she looked down her nose at the apprentice guardsman.Nort's smirk faded. "Yes, Dilly," he said, and made his escape."That Nort reminds me of a lizard," Meg remarked after he was gone. She ran into the castle and went dripping through half a dozen passageways, with Dilly trying not to slip on the damp floor behind her.When they reached the princess's chambers, Dilly stifled a shriek. Dresses were strewn every which way, on and under the bed, across chairs, and in friendly heaps and sad little solo piles of skirt and sleeves like headless dolls. "What have you done now?""I was looking for something less lacy," Meg confessed."But I just tidied up this morning!" Dilly wailed, her black hair falling from its usual neat bun, her cheerful smile erased."I'm sorry, Dilly," Meg said sincerely.Dilly took a deep breath and mustered a weak smile. "Well, we'd best find a dry dress, the least wrinkled one. Or rather, I'll find a dress while you wash the bog water out of your hair."And so it was that a scant half hour later, Princess Margaret of Greeve walked into the dining hall dressed in a green satin gown that only Cam would have thought was frog-colored. With her hair combed up and her face washed, she looked nearly ladylike. A fresh murmur spread through the gathering as the princess made her way across the room. Faces turned toward her from each of the tables. Meg could feel herself flushing as she sank into an empty seat beside her mother.King Stromgard leaned across the queen. "What have you been doing, Margaret?" he rumbled.On the other side of the king, the prime minister whispered, "You did tell her, didn't you?"The king sat back before Meg could answer, but the queen gave her daughter a quelling sideways look. "We were waiting for you, all of us, in the throne room.""I'm sorry, Mother," she said, reaching for her soup spoon. Everyone else was finishing their roast peacock. Far too many curious eyes were upon Meg. Why hadn't anyone told her they were having a state dinner?Meg's soup was cold. Behind her, a minstrel sang in a reedy voice about a prince who sailed across three seas to fetch his ladylove, only to find that she had turned into a pigeon and flown across the same seas the other way to find him.Up the table, Garald peered at the king. "Did you, Your Majesty?"The king lifted his bread with a mutter."You didn't," Garald breathed. "Not even a little warning?"In spite of all the talk along the table, the queen heard. "Didn't what?" she asked her husband.Beleaguered, the king tugged nervously at his beard. "More of a woman's role, eh, Istilda?""What is it this time?" she asked him. Her eyes widened. "No! You promised!""Not the proper--later, my dear," he replied."I'll admit I was surprised to see her so calm," the queen told the king."What's the matter?" Meg asked on the other side of her mother, but Istilda shook her head grimly. Uneasy, Meg returned to the task of catching up to the rest of the company without devouring her food like a wild boar.She glanced down the table. An elderly knight was flirting quaintly with one of the queen's ladies-in-waiting, who pretended to be pleased. An earl's son was watching Meg. He smiled when he saw her looking. Meg concentrated on taking another bite of scallop salad.Soon enough Meg finished her dinner, just in time for her father to make one of his long speeches. Meg wondered if Cam would be able to escape from Chief Gardener Tob in the morning. Then again, her mother seemed to be feeling better, so tomorrow would probably be full of uneven stitches and snagged threads. Meg sighed."I remind you that your interests are my interests," the king proclaimed, sounding like the prime minister. "As a kingdom, we must unite our efforts to accomplish the greatest growth and progress in our illustrious history."Garald probably wrote the speech, Meg decided. He looked very proud. Was he mouthing the words under his breath?"We can put an end to this slight yet worrisome economic slowdown even as we rid ourselves of the balefulscourges upon our fair land," the king continued, "freeing up valuable real estate with a great deal of potential."What scourges? Meg wondered. Some of the courtiers whispered to one another, probably asking the same thing."In addition, the events embodying the solution to these blights will generate much-needed income as an influx of spectators with their pockets full of gold flock eagerly to spend their money in the noble city of Crown."Spectators? "What is Father talking about?" Meg asked."Shh," said Queen Istilda.Garald was definitely mouthing the words.The king raised his hands dramatically. "A dragon darkens our dells. A witch haunts our woods. Bandits roam our moors."It's not that bad," Meg whispered."Shh," Queen Istilda said with a severe expression that seemed out of place on her porcelain face.Meg slumped in her chair."But with the help of our fair daughter"--Meg straightened--"we can transform our beleaguered kingdom into a new and shining realm."Meg looked at her mother, utterly baffled. The queen avoided her eyes.King Stromgard swept on. "In the great tradition of so many monarchs, I offer my daughter's hand in marriageand half my kingdom to the prince who can rid us of these evils, restoring peace and prosperity to our realm."The crowd burst into applause, covering Meg's horrified response. "I won't!" She jumped to her feet. Everyone smiled up at her, still clapping. The king stood, too, and put his arm around her. The entire court cheered, calling Meg's name, as the king led his bristling daughter out of the room.Copyright © 2006 by Kathryn Coombs All rights reserved
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    Anonymous

    Meg is not an odinary princess. When her father, the king of Greeve locks her away in a tower, promising her hand in marrige and half the kingdom to anyone who can rid Greeve of the witch, dragon, and bandits that rome their land, Meg is outraged. With her friends help Meg escapes from her tower prison and sets off on a quest to warn the dragon, the witch, and the bandits of the fait that awaits them. But as Meg and her friends soon learn not everything is as it seems.

    This book is a very entertaining read. It is refreshingly different with a delightful touch of humer. I loved Meg's spunky personality and her will to never give up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    Good

    It is really sad tha not a lot of people know about this book because it is really good! I love that Meg isn't the typical princess and that she is determined to decide her own fate. In a crazy way, she is a lot like Merida from Brave.

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

    Posted April 1, 2014

    My s Funny and one of my favorites

    my sister and i read this book over and over agian

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    The Runaway Princess.

    Meg is a princess that dosen't enjoy princess things. She is very brave and does NOT want to get married. Yet, somehow, her father thinks that starting up a contest in the prizes were her hand in marriage, and half of the kingdom. The things you had to do to win the contest was capture the bandits (who stole from the rich and gave to the poor), slay the dragon (who had not killed anyone in almost a century except for an unfortunate ox), and kill the witch (who was very kind to her frog-princes and made potions to help people). Meg gets locked up in a tower and gets out as soon as possible, to save the misunderstood criminals, with the help of friends. There are many twists and turns, but overalll, it is a great book. I recommend it for book reports. I rate it five stars as you can see. Have a nice happily ever after!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun Read !!!

    A truely fun book to read! This book was about a princess who didn't want to be rescued by some handsom prince and is mad at her parents for wanting a handsome prince for her -she does not want to be locked up in a tower... and she doesn't want to be saved!!!! This book shows true girl heroism... for girls of all ages. I liked the second book even better! This book was a bit boring but it was just a great read - there was nothing at all suggestive in it! Moms this is a great book for younger daughters around the ages of 12...

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

    Posted March 17, 2008

    A reviewer

    I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!** I started reading E.D. Baker's books, and I came across this. I'm telling you Kate Coombs, you should get together with E.D. Baker , and you both could come up with a fantastic series! I would buy every one!

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

    Posted March 13, 2008

    My Daughtter LOVES this!!

    She's a very picky reader. The first author to really get her reading was E.D. Baker. When she read through all of that series I was searching for another book to keep her going and this was it! I'm very impressed that this new author held her interest.

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

    Posted March 27, 2007

    A reviewer

    I think this book was great. It was full of adventure and i couldnt put it down. I hope she comes out with a sequel soon. I recommend this book to girls 9-14. Boys probably wouldnt like it. Lol.Anyway, in this book theres always something going on, very detailed, and i think it was great!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2007

    This is a great book!

    I enjoyed reading this a lot! Meg is a strong girl who doesn't sit around waiting to be rescued by some 'bread-for-brains' prince. There is also no romance in the book and that's another reason why I like it. This is much more than the traditional princess story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2007

    Really good book

    This was an excellent book where the princess doesn't rely the least bit on a prince to save her. It could stand a little romance, but other than that, it was a really cute book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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