Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

I just finished this Newbery Honor book, and I loved it. Shannon Hale has a way with characters, plot and words. I wrote about another of her books, Goose Girl, here.

Princess Academy is the story of a group of uneducated mountain girls who are chosen to attend the Princess Academy. One of the girls will be chosen to marry the Prince and become the new Princess of Danland. Miri, the central character of the novel, is not sure she even wants to become the princess, but she does want to learn and excel at the academy. And she does want to do something extraordinary to prove to her village and to her Pa that she is not useless even though she is not allowed to work in quarry with the rest of the villagers.

There are some fairy tale elements to this story, but mostly it’s a story about teenage girls thrown into a challenging situation, about they cope with adversity, about how they relate to one another, about their growth from children into adults. I looked immediately after I finished the book to see if Miri was on JKR’s list of Cool Girls of Children’s Literature. She was, of course. Miri is definitely “smart, brave, funny, and independent.’ However, she does have some growing up to do in this book, some decisions to make, and an important realization to attain.

Have all the girls in your life read this book. Some of the boys might enjoy it, too. Read it yourself for a dose of growing up realism in the midst of fairyland. I think this book should have won the Newbery Award instead of being a runner-up, but it wins my award for 2005 anyway.

25 thoughts on “Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

  1. Pingback: Semicolon
  2. I’m going to read this for the Saturday Review challenge!

  3. Divya Ramachandran

    Princess Academy is really amazing. I really like this book. I like Miri very much. she is very intelligent.

  4. jabray

    I’m reading the book and in the beginning i have to tell the truth it is very slow. To me I wanted to stop but I kept going and in the middle which makes not want to put it down it was written very well and I enjoyed it alot.

  5. This book is very good at the climax. Everyone should read it!

  6. juliana

    I wouplain
    give this book four and a half stars. The middle and ending is full of challenges for the characters, but the beginning was quite plain.

  7. Lu

    I am reading the book and I am almost done I thought the book was very boring especially in the beggining because it was very slow I do not like the book but I have to finish it and maybe it will be good. Right now I would rate the book a 5.5 I really do not like it as well as some of the books I have read.I wish it was more exciting

  8. Lu

    I think the book was ok now that Ive read it more I will not read any more of Shannon Hales book though because I like more about action then about princesses I like boy books more than girl books because they are more exciting!! If you like books that are exciting I would reccomend the book Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver!!! It is the best book I would rate WOLF BROTHER a 10.5 out of 10 It was awesome!!!I still don’t like the book Princess Academy but it is growing on me

  9. i luved this book im only 11 years old. i read it in 2 days i love miri and i think peder sounds cute

  10. madi

    i just finished it like 10 min ago and i was looking to see if she wrote a number 2 book

  11. tutu

    i would givee this book a six cause im into more horror and adventure books. but i guess this book was okay

  12. tutu

    k well im starting 2 get more into this book plus i hv english hw for it

  13. Morgin

    I had to read this book for my class. I had to have a raiding for it and i gave it a 3-10 i didnt like it i thout it was boring and it was about being a princes! And realy who wants to be a princess! I just read 10-25 chapters of it and fell asleep! I made up my bookreport because i didnt want to read the rest. And dudes in my class hade to read it! This girl in my class wants to be a princess and gave the book a 0-10! So the next book i read beder be good or els. from, Morgin-rechelle-Gaddis Age 12 Grade 5th

  14. Morgin

    Hi, its me agan. i left somthing out. i also want to say i got a A+ on my bookreport! so i give this book a 5-10. this book is so easy to read. my favorit person in it is katar. she reminds me of well me becaause my nick name is altiar.

  15. Harkarmam

    omigosh i absolutly loved this book … of course it was reccomended to me for a novel study ( we get to choose our own books as long as they have a medal and are at grade 7 level) and i was like okaii i’ll read it and it was just amazing so after i was done i checked out all books by Shannon Hale and now im gooing to read just because i liked Princess Academy soo much….

  16. shnia

    loved ur book

  17. readingfalcon

    Don’t not read Hale’s books because you like more action. The Goose Girl is rather exiting when you get into it. I say this because mabey if you read it you will read the rest of that seires, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forrest Born are not slow!!

  18. I LUV this book I am 100 pages into it, but I think the beginning is a little too long.

    I like Miri because she is very courageous she is also very smart she taught herself how to read a book!

  19. I like the book Princess Academy. But I really hate Olana because she is mean and she locked Miri in the closet where a mouse is at and she forgot that Miri was in there but one of the girls told her. I like Miri and the other girls and her pa and Marda they are very cool.

  20. andnie

    I luved this booked! So awsome!althought the begining was kinda boring. I’m doing this book for my book report. Any tips?

  21. ceciliana

    the book was amazing. i used it for my book report and i have to say it definitely the best book to choose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. ceciliana

    ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺

  23. ceciliana

    wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow

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