Princess Academy (Newbery Honor Book)

It’s time for the prince to marry, and when the kingdom priests foretell that his future wife will come from the Eskel highlands, all eligible mountain girls are sent to a special academy for grooming, and training in the ways of “princessdom”. While there, 15-year-old princess candidate “Mirra” blooms from young girl to heroic maiden in this sweet coming of age story.

Mirra is a realistic, likeable character that wrestles with self-doubt, and feelings of inadequacies, but her good heart, common sense, and quick thinking propels her through all her adversities. Girls of all ages will relate to her, and enjoy the story’s emphasis on friendships.

The mountain people use “quarry speak”; a unique way to transfer thoughts, needs or commands to each other using mental telepathy. The story would have been fine without it, but hey, this is fiction. The quarry speak was a convenient tool to help Mirra get out of some difficult situations, and except for using it to “help” the other girls ace their final academy exam, she used this gift honorably. The author also includes an excellent lesson on diplomacy, and adds a few twists and turns to keep readers guessing the outcome of the story. Overall, Princess Academy is a fine book, worthy of a Newbery honor.

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