Name: Princess Academy
Author: Shannon Hale
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Princess Academy is a nice, relatively short read that’s perfect for passing time while sick in bed or entertaining yourself during an afternoon rain-shower. It’s intended for a younger audience, but was written so well that anyone of any age could enjoy it….simple and straightforward.
The protagonist, Miri, is a fourteen-year-old girl living in a mountain village that only occasionally meets the outside world by way of traders looking to buy linder, or expensive stone that can only be harvested on Mount Eskel. Being born premature, Miri is unnaturally small for her age and unable to work in the quarry alongside everyone else. Instead, she cares for the goats, cooks, cleans, and whatever else needs to be done around the house.
The traders bring with them a representative of the king, who announces that the divine priests have named Mount Eskel as the home of the future princess. Therefore, every girl between the ages of 12 and 17 is to be sent to an academy and taught “high society”. It is among these girls that the prince will choose who he wishes to marry.
The villagers, being skeptical of outsiders, blow them off and return to work….until a group of soldiers arrive to forcefully take the girls.
Miri feels useless and unwanted in a village full of physically-fit, intimidating mountain people. She reluctantly leaves her family behind, but soon discovers a love of reading and commerce. Before attending the academy, she thought education was unnecessary (being well taught won’t help you to move stone) and a waste of precious time (winter is approaching and they need to stock up on food to survive it).
Princess Academy is a tale of twenty girls who learn to overcome obstacles, realize their potential as intelligent young women, and come together as one big family to survive both an abusive teacher and blood-thirsty bandits.
But it’s up to you to discover the true power of “quarry speech”…