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Princess Academy

Princess Academy

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Princess Academy

4.5/5 (145 valutazioni)
282 pagine
4 ore
Dec 1, 2008


From Scribd: About the Book

The first book in Shannon Hale's incredibly popular Princess Academy series, Princess Academy, follows Miri shortly after a prophecy has been divined that the next princess will come from her hometown. In a year's time, the prince will come to her town to choose his bride, so every girl about his age needs to go to the princess academy.

Miri enters the academy with the other girls but quickly finds herself conflicted. Winning the contest means she'll get everything she's ever wanted in her life, but it also means leaving her home and her family. As she deals with difficult teachers and competition from the other girls, Miri perseveres in hopes of becoming the next princess. She just hopes that's what she wants in life!

Dec 1, 2008

Informazioni sull'autore

Shannon Hale ("Bouncing the Grinning Goat") began writing at age ten—mostly fantasy stories where she was the heroine. She never stopped. She writes bestselling books for kids and adults and also writes graphic novels. Her book Princess Academy was named a Newbery Honor Book in 2006. Shannon lives with her family near Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Correlato a Princess Academy

Anteprima del libro

Princess Academy - Shannon Hale

For good friends

And especially for Rosi,

a true mountain girl


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

A conversation with Shannon Hale

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone teaser

Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters advert

Reading Group Guide

About the Author

Read all the Books of Bayern!

Book of a Thousand Days advert

Eager for more tales of magic and adventure?

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Books by Shannon Hale

Chapter One

The east says it's dawn

My mouth speaks a yawn

My bed clings to me and begs me to stay

I hear a work song

Say winter is long

I peel myself up and then make away

Miri woke to the sleepy bleating of a goat. The world was as dark as eyes closed, but perhaps the goats could smell dawn seeping through the cracks in the house's stone walls. Though still half-asleep, she was aware of the late autumn chill hovering just outside her blanket, and she wanted to curl up tighter and sleep like a bear through frost and night and day.

Then she remembered the traders, kicked off her blanket, and sat up. Her father believed today was the day their wagons would squeeze up the mountain pass and rumble into the village. This time of year, all the villagers felt the rush for the last trading of the season, to hurry and square off a few more linder blocks and make that much more to trade, that much more to eat during the snow-locked months. Miri longed to help.

Wincing at the rustle of her pea-shuck mattress, Miri stood and stepped carefully over her pa and older sister, Marda, asleep on their pallets. For a week she had harbored an anxious hope to run to the quarry today and be already at work when her pa arrived. Perhaps then he might not send her away.

She pulled her wool leggings and shirt over her sleep clothes, but she had not yet laced her first boot when a crunch of pea-shucks told her that someone else had awakened.

Pa stirred the hearth embers and added goat dung. The orange light brightened, pushing his huge shadow against the wall.

Is it morning? Marda leaned up on one arm and squinted at the firelight.

Just for me, said their father.

He looked to where Miri stood, frozen, one foot in a boot, her hands on the laces.

No, was all he said.

Pa. Miri stuffed her other foot in its boot and went to him, laces trailing on the dirt floor. She kept her voice casual, as though the idea had just occurred to her. I thought that with the accidents and bad weather lately, you could use my help, just until the traders come.

Pa did not say no again, but she could see by the concentrated way he pulled on his boots that he meant it. From outside wafted one of the chanting songs the workers sang as they walked to the quarry. I hear a work song say winter is long. The sound came closer, and with it an insistence that it was time to join in, hurry, hurry, before the workers passed by, before snow encased the mountain inside winter. The sound made Miri's heart feel squeezed between two stones. It was a unifying song and one that she was not invited to join.

Embarrassed to have shown she wanted to go, Miri shrugged and said, Oh well. She grabbed the last onion from a barrel, cut off a slice of brown goat cheese, and handed the food to her father as he opened the door.

Thank you, my flower. If the traders come today, make me proud. He kissed the top of her head and was singing with the others before he reached them.

Her throat burned. She would make him proud.

Marda helped Miri do the inside chores—sweeping the hearth and banking the coals, laying the fresh goat dung out to dry, adding more water to the salt pork soaking for dinner. As Marda sang, Miri chattered about nothing, never mentioning their pa's refusal to let her work. But gloom hung heavy on her like wet clothes, and she wanted to laugh and shake it off.

Last week I was passing by Bena's house, said Miri, "and her ancient grandfather was sitting outside. I was watching him, amazed that he didn't seem bothered by a fly that was buzzing around his face, when, smack. He squashed it right against his mouth."

Marda cringed.

But Marda, he left it there, said Miri. This dead fly stuck just under his nose. And when he saw me, he said, 'Good evening, miss,' and the fly . . . Miri's stomach cramped from trying to keep speaking through a laugh. The fly wobbled when he moved his mouth . . . and . . . and just then its little crushed wing lifted straight up, as if it were waving hello to me, too!

Marda always said she could not resist Miri's low, throaty laugh and defied the mountain itself not to rumble as well. But Miri liked her sister's laugh better than a belly full of soup. At the sound, her heart felt lighter.

They chased the goats out of the house and milked the nannies in the tight chill of morning. It was cold on top of their mountain in anticipation of winter, but the air was loosened by a breeze coming up from a valley. The sky changed from pink to yellow to blue with the rising sun, but Miri's attention kept shifting to the west and the road from the lowlands.

I've decided to trade with Enrik again, said Miri, and I'm set on wrestling something extra out of him. Wouldn't that be a feat?

Marda smiled, humming. Miri recognized the tune as one the quarry workers sang when dragging stones out of the pit. Singing helped them to tug in rhythm.

Maybe extra barley or salt fish, said Miri.

Or honey, said Marda.

Even better. Her mouth watered at the thought of hot sweet cakes, honeyed nuts for a holiday, and a bit saved to drizzle on biscuits some bleak winter evening.

At her pa's request, Miri had taken charge of trading for the past three years. This year, she was determined to get that stingy lowlander trader to give up more than he had intended. She imagined the quiet smile on Pa's face when she told him what she had done.

I can't help wondering, said Marda, holding the head of a particularly grumpy goat while Miri did the milking, after you left, how long did the fly remain?

At noon, Marda left to help in the quarry. Miri never spoke about this daily moment when Marda went and Miri stayed behind. She would never tell how small and ugly she felt. Let them all believe I don't care, thought Miri. Because I don't care. I don't.

When Miri was eight years old, all the other children her age had started to work in the quarry—carrying water, fetching tools, and performing other basic tasks. When she had asked her Pa why she could not, he had taken her in his arms, kissed the top of her head, and rocked her with such love, she knew she would leap across the mountaintops if he asked it. Then in his mild, low voice, he had said, You are never to set foot in the quarry, my flower.

She had not asked him why again. Miri had been tiny from birth and at age fourteen was smaller than girls years younger. There was a saying in the village that when something was thought to be useless it was skinnier than a lowlander's arm. Whenever Miri heard it she wanted to dig a hole in the rocks and crawl deep and out of sight.

Useless, she said with a laugh. It still stung, but she liked to pretend, even to herself, that she did not care.

Miri led the goats up a slope behind their house to the only patches of grass still long. By winter, the village goats worked the hilltop grasses down to stubble. In the village itself, no green things grew. Rock debris was strewn and stacked and piled deeper than Miri could dig, and scree littered the slopes that touched the village lanes. It was the cost of living beside a quarry. Miri heard the lowlander traders complain, but she was accustomed to heaps of rock chippings underfoot, fine white dust in the air, and mallets beating out the sound of the mountain's heartbeat.

Linder. It was the mountain's only crop, her village's one means of livelihood. Over centuries, whenever one quarry ran out of linder, the villagers dug a new one, moving the village of Mount Eskel into the old quarry. Each of the mountain's quarries had produced slight variations on the brilliant white stone. They had mined linder marbled with pale veins of pink, blue, green, and now silver.

Miri tethered the goats to a twisted tree, sat on the shorn grass, and plucked one of the tiny pink flowers that bloomed out of cracks in the rocks. A miri flower.

The linder of the current quarry had been uncovered the day she was born, and her father had wanted to name her after the stone.

This bed of linder is the most beautiful yet, he had told her mother, pure white with streaks of silver.

But in the story that Miri had pulled out of her pa many times, her mother had refused. I don't want a daughter named after a stone, she had said, choosing instead to name her Miri after the flower that conquered rock and climbed to face the sun.

Pa had said that despite pain and weakness after giving birth, her mother would not let go of her tiny baby. A week later, her mother had died. Though Miri had no memory of it save what she created in her imagination, she thought of that week when she was held by her mother as the most precious thing she owned, and she kept the idea of it tight to her heart.

Miri twirled the flower between her fingers, and the thin petals snapped off and dropped into the breeze. Folk wisdom said she could make a wish if all the petals fell in one twirl.

What could she wish for?

She looked to the east, where the yellow green slopes and flat places of Mount Eskel climbed into the gray blue peak. To the north, a chain of mountains bounded away into forever—purple, blue, then gray.

She could not see the horizon to the south, where somewhere an ocean unfolded, mysterious. To the west was the trader road that led to the pass and eventually to the lowlands and the rest of the kingdom.

She could not imagine life in the lowlands any more than she could visualize an ocean.

Below her, the quarry was a jangle of odd rectangular shapes, blocks half-exposed, men and women with wedges and mallets to free chunks from the mountain, levers to lift them out, and chisels to square them straight. Even from her hilltop, Miri could hear the chanting songs in the rhythms of the mallet, chisel, and lever, the sounds overlapping, the vibrations stirring the ground where she sat.

A tingle in her mind and a sense of Doter, one of the quarrywomen, came with the faint command Lighten the blow. Quarry-speech. Miri leaned forward at the feel of it, wanting to hear more.

The workers used this way of talking without speaking aloud so they could be heard despite the clay plugs they wore in their ears and the deafening blows of mallets. The voice of quarry-speech worked only in the quarry itself, but Miri could sometimes sense the echoes when she sat nearby. She did not understand how it worked exactly but had heard a quarry worker say that all their pounding and singing stored up rhythm in the mountain. Then, when they needed to speak to another person, the mountain used the rhythm to carry the message for them. Just now, Doter must have been telling another quarrier to lighten his strike on a wedge.

How wonderful it would be, Miri thought, to sing in time, to call out in quarry-speech to a friend working on another ledge. To share in the work.

The miri stem began to go limp in her fingers.

What could she wish for? To be as tall as a tree, to have arms like her pa, to have an ear to hear the linder ripe for the harvest and the power to pull it loose. But wishing for impossible things seemed an insult to the miri flower and a slight against the god who made it. For amusement she filled herself with impossible wishes—her ma alive again, boots no rock shard could poke through, honey instead of snow. To somehow be as useful to the village as her own pa.

A frantic bleating pulled her attention to the base of her slope. A boy of fifteen pursued a loose goat through the knee-deep stream. He was tall and lean, with a head of tawny curls and limbs still brown from the summer sun. Peder. Normally she would shout hello, but over the past year a strange feeling had come inching into Miri, and now she was more likely to hide from him than flick pebbles at his backside.

She had begun to notice things about him lately, like the pale hair on his tanned arm and the line between his brows that deepened when he was perplexed. She liked those things.

It made Miri wonder if he noticed her, too.

She looked from the bald head of the miri flower down to Peder's straw-colored hair and wanted something that she was afraid to speak.

I wish . . . , she whispered. Did she dare?

I wish that Peder and I—

A horn blast echoed so suddenly against the cliffs that Miri dropped the flower stem. The village did not have a horn, so that meant lowlanders. She hated to respond to the lowlanders trumpet like an animal to a whistle, but curiosity overcame her pride. She grabbed the tethers and wrestled the goats down the slope.

Miri! Peder jogged up beside her, pulling his goats after him. She hoped her face was not smudged with dirt.

Hello, Peder. Why aren't you in the quarry? In most families, care of the goats and rabbits was performed only by those too young or too old to work in the quarry.

My sister wanted to learn wedge work and my grandmother was feeling sore in the bones, so my ma asked me to take a turn with the goats. Do you know what the trumpeting is about?

Traders, I guess. But why the fanfare?

You know lowlanders, said Peder. "They're so important."

Maybe one had some gas, and they trumpeted so the whole world would know the good news.

He smiled in his way, with the right side of his mouth pulling higher than the left. Their goats were bleating at one another like little children arguing.

Oh, really, is that so? Miri asked the lead goat as if she understood their talk.

What? said Peder.

Your nanny there said that stream was so cold it scared her milk right up into her mutton chops.

Peder laughed, stirring in her a desire to say something more, something clever and wonderful, but the wanting startled all her thoughts away, so she clamped her mouth shut before she said something stupid.

They stopped at Miri's house to tie up the goats. Peder tried to help by taking all the tethers, but the goats started to butt one another, the leads tangled, and suddenly Peder's ankles were bound.

Wait. . . stop, he said, and fell flat to the ground.

Miri stepped in to try to help and soon found herself sprawled beside him, laughing. We're cooked in a goat stew. There's no saving us now.

When they were finally untangled and standing upright, Miri had an impulse to lean forward and kiss his cheek. The urge shocked her, and she stood there, dumb and embarrassed.

That was a mess, he said.

Yes. Miri looked down, brushing the dirt and gravel from her clothes. She decided she had better tease him quickly in case he had read her thoughts. If there's one thing you're good at, Peder Doterson, it's making a mess.

That's what my ma always says, and everyone knows she's never wrong.

Miri realized that the quarry was silent and the only pounding she heard was her own heartbeat in her ears. She hoped Peder could not hear it. Another trumpet blare roused them to urgency, and they set off running.

The trader wagons were lined up in the village center, waiting for business to begin, but all eyes were on a painted blue carriage that rolled into their midst. Miri had heard of carriages but never seen one before. Someone important must have come with the traders.

Peder, let's watch from— Miri started to say, but just then Bena and Liana shouted Peder's name and waved him over. Bena was as tall as Peder, with hair browner than Miri's that hit her waist when loose, and Liana with her large eyes was acknowledged the prettiest girl in the village. They were two years older than Peder, but lately he was the boy they most preferred to smile at.

Let's watch with them, said Peder, waving, his smile suddenly shy.

Miri shrugged. Go ahead. She ran the other way, weaving through the crowd of waiting quarry workers to find Marda, and did not look back.

Who do you think it could be? asked Marda, stepping closer to Miri as soon as she approached. Even in a large group, Marda felt anxious standing alone.

I don't know, said Esa, but my ma says a surprise from a lowlander is a snake in a box.

Esa was slender, though not as small as Miri, and shared the same tawny hair with her brother, Peder. She was eyeing the wagon, her face scrunched suspiciously. Marda nodded. Doter, Esa and Peder's mother, was known for her wise sayings.

A surprise, said Frid. She had shoulder-length black hair and an expression of near constant wonderment. Though only sixteen, she was nearly as broad-shouldered and thick-armed as any of her six big brothers. Who could it be? Some rich trader?

One of the traders looked their way with a patronizing smile. Clearly, it's a messenger from the king.

The king? Miri felt herself gawk like a coarse mountain girl, but she could not help it. No one from the king had been to the mountain in her lifetime.

They're probably here to declare Mount Eskel the new capital of Danland, said the trader.

The royal palace will fit nicely in the quarry, said the second trader.

Really? Frid asked, and both traders snickered.

Miri glared at them but did not speak up, afraid of sounding ignorant herself.

Another trumpet blared, and a brightly dressed man stood on the driver's bench and yelled in a high, strained voice, I call your ears to hearken the chief delegate of Danland.

A delicate man with a short, pointed beard emerged from the carriage, squinting in the sunlight that reflected off the white walls of the old quarry. As he took in the sight of the crowd, his squint became a pronounced frown.

Lords and ladies of. . . He stopped and laughed, sharing some private joke with himself. People of Mount Eskel. As your territory has no delegate at court to report to you, His Majesty the king sent me to deliver you this news. A breeze tapped his hat's long yellow feather against his brow. He pushed it away. Some of the younger village boys laughed.

This past summer, the priests of the creator god took council on the birthday of the prince. They read the omens and divined the home of his future bride. All the signs indicated Mount Eskel.

The chief delegate paused, seemingly waiting for a response, though what kind Miri had no notion. A cheer? A boo? He sighed, and his voice went

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    One of my most favorite books of all-time, and I read a lot.
  • (5/5)
    A M A Z I N G. This book led me to reading the rest of the sequel.
  • (5/5)
    I loved it, Shannon made something so complicated and unique as quarry-speech and Danland traditions so real that it feels like I fell through a portal of this story and lived and breathed in the same air as Miri.
    I'm surprised at how interesting this book was and it is wholeheartedly my favorite, I sincerely hope that there could be more books like this in the universe for me to devour.
  • (5/5)
    Princess Academy is an absorbing story and a fun fantasy. It was easy to become lost in Miri's story.

    Miri and the other girls from Mount Eskel are forced to go to princess academy so that they can be trained in the skills and knowledge appropriate for a princess. Once they arrive at the school, they are faced with an incredibly strict teacher and harsh disciplinary measures. Between being forcibly taken from their families and being punished in ways that they deem unfair, the academy doesn't seem like a pleasant place to be for the girls. As they learn new skills though, they are exposed to new opportunities in life and even discover information that can help their impoverished mountain community.

    Throughout the book there are several different areas of conflict and tension that compelled me to read. Would the girls pass their tests and be presented to the prince? Which girl would he choose? Would Miri even want to become a princess (because she's unsure of her feelings for a local boy)?

    All in all, Princess Academy is a very fun young adult book. The title alone could be enough to make you think that this book is full of pink ball gowns and flirtations, but thankfully it has more substance than that. I would say that it's more of a fantasy book than anything else. There is a small element of magic to the story, and the story is set in a fictitious country and world.

    I'd recommend Princess Academy to anyone who likes a good light-hearted fantasy read. If you liked reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore, then you will probably like this story (though Graceling does have a lot more fantasy elements).
  • (5/5)
    Miri is small for her age. She lives with her family in a mountain community known for its special quarried stone. Life is a struggle and things are about to get worse as girls of a certain age are forced to go to the princess academy as the king's priests have divined that the newest queen will be living among them. That's the set up of Shannon Hale's Princess Academy.While it may sound like a traditional set up for a fairy tale where the smallest, least useful member of a town goes off to charm the crown prince and become the next queen, it isn't. It's about the hardships of mountain life, about wanting to contribute to society, the frustration of not knowing the truth behind things and finally the power of education. What Miri and the other girls gain above and beyond the lessons in grace and polite society, is an education and most importantly, the ability to read.Hale uses the seasons to show the mountain in all its forms and to create a believable sense of place. She also includes folk songs and stories to build an oral history that is later enhanced and challenged by what Miri and the others learn in their studies.Although the book is set in only a small piece of the kingdom I came away with a sense of a much larger area. Shannon Hale excels at world building while keeping the story flowing and the characters developing.I listened to the audio version of Princess Academy on our drive to Southern California earlier this year. I plan to go back and read the printed version later.
  • (4/5)
    I was surprised by this book. It's not your typical fairy tale. The focus was not on winning over a prince and falling in love. It was about how Miri used her intelligence and courage to improve the life of all her fellow mountain villagers. I think it's obvious that Miri is the true princess; it shows through her generosity, bravery, and sense of justice. But Miri still had a bit of selfishness running through her to make her a believable character.

    The ending is satisfying; even though nothing outwardly spectacular happens to Miri, she becomes comfortable with her life and who she is.

    In this edition, there is an interview with Shannon Hale, and I learned a couple interesting things...
    Most of her character names were medieval Scandinavian names.
    She imagines Danland to be on the same world that her Books of Bayern are set, just on a different continent and at a different time.

    I'm glad I read this, and I can see why it is a Newberry book. I would imagine it would be appealing to more than just young girls.
  • (3/5)
    After an unsuccessful attempt at reading Goose Girl, I decided to give Shannon Hale another try. Since joining GR I’ve heard nothing but great things about her books. However, I think the hype led me to have bigger expectations and as a result her writing just seems to fall flat for me. I find that Hale is not very descriptive. We’re told the mountain is beautiful, but we’re never shown the beauty of the mountain and when it’s described it seems downright dingy. The same with her characters. There isn’t a full description of any of the characters. The reader is given bits and pieces throughout the story and we’re just supposed to piece it together. I wouldn’t have minded so much, but the descriptions seemed to come off as an afterthought rather than part of the story.

    The plot was good, although it was on the predictable side. The first half with the set up was slow and it annoyed me that Hale was repetitive to some degree. Once the consequences of the academy became clear and the action started the book rolled along nicely though.

    The character development was well done. Miri is a loveable little heroine. She’s a petite girl with a lot of self doubt due to being one of the few in her village not allowed to work in the quarry. She doesn’t feel useful to her family or the village, so when the academy comes along she finds a chance to prove her usefulness. I just love an underdog and a petite one at that!

    I also loved how through the development of the academy Hale shows the importance of education and its affects not only on the girls, but on the village itself. Although I found the parts where Miri’s self doubted herself a bit heavy handed, the moral of the story wasn’t heavy handed. I was glad to find out that this book is part of a series, because the end was left with loose ends and I can see how it disappointed other readers, who probably didn’t know this tidbit.
  • (4/5)
    Listened to the Full Cast Audio Playaway. This was clearly one of the first generation Playaways that our library ordered - the sound quality really is different - this was my first opportunity to really notice that. As usual with a Full Cast production, I loved it. Previously read print copy in April 2007.
  • (3/5)
    [3.5 stars:]

    I liked this - it's not among the best YA fiction I've ever read, but better than most. The writing was good. I liked most of the characters. The plot seemed well put together.

    The only thing that really annoyed me was the constant comparisons, most of which seemed sort of ridiculous:

    - "Miri felt as withered as a winter carrot"
    - "The music was so beautiful that it entered her with a pleasant tang, like drinking ice-melt water on an empty stomach."
    - "The musicians played melodies that yearned and pleaded, as sweet as the sticky honey cakes..."
    - "a sound so luscious that just hearing it reminded her of eating fresh strawberries"
    - "stepping into all that color and light and music and fragrance felt like walking into an embrace"
    - "The fabric felt like bathwater against her skin"
    - "the sky was rich as wet soil and bluer than anyone's eyes"

    (Those are only a few example - there are tons more.)
  • (3/5)
    If you like really fantastic magical fantasy, go read something else. It's more an adventure book than a fantasy book.
  • (4/5)
    14 year old Miri has lived a quiet life in the village of Mount Eskel, where generations of citizens have worked in the stone quarries. Things quickly change when it's announced that Prince Steffan of Danland will be traveling to Mount Eskel to find his future wife. Miri, who has always been kept out of the stone quarries, sees the chance to become a princess as a way to prove her worth and value to her family. As young ladies of Mount Eskel are sent to the "Princess Academy" run by the unpredictable Tutor Olana, Miri learns lessons she could never have dreamed of: reading, history, dancing, and the story of how valuable Mount Eskel is to all of Danland. Once at the Princess Academy, Miri learns just how strong and valuable she is to her family and the community around her.
  • (4/5)
    Hale introduces each chapter with a song lyrics or poetry from quarry village, Mount Eskel, where the next princess of the land is destined to come from. The setting is clearly established in the first chapter though the lead character Miri banking the coals, hanging goat dung out to dry and adding water to the salt port. She hears and hums the songs of the working quarry men mining for linder. The story is a tightly woven tapestry with the themes of friendship, community, family, work, and education. Each theme is well developed starting from a simple observation or thought of Miri building through each chapter. Hale twists the typical image of princess from a young woman solely immersed in social graces and dances to that of young women trying to better the lives of themselves and their community. Miri
  • (4/5)
    This book was so cute. Miri lives in a small village in the mountains, where everyone works in a quarry, gathering Linder, a valuable stone like marble. One day, a representative from the distant Capitol visits the village and announces that the Crown Prince's priests have divined that the Prince's future wife would come from this small town. As such, all village girls of eligible age will attend a newly-formed Princess Academy, where they will learn reading & writing, diplomacy, poise, commerce, etc.The girls learn all of these things and more, but most importantly they learn that they and their village are special. They learn self-respect, and how to be strong independent women. The ending is very appropriate and satisfying.The writing style was a little juvenile (though understandably so) to be 100% enjoyable to me, and my only other issue was the relationship between Miri and her sister Magda. Throughout the book Miri looks after her sister, shelters her and worries about how she's getting along while Miri is at the academy. She even goes back home one weekend to slaughter rabbits for food so that her sister won't have to see the blood. However, Magda is about 2.5 years OLDER than Miri! (Too old to attend the academy.) What gives?!Highly recommended to girls 14 and younger. Recommended to everyone else.
  • (3/5)
    Not bad. I disliked it at the beginning - mildly interesting world, but Miri has such poor self-esteem that I didn't like her any more than she liked herself. Then the academy - Britta's position was so clear to me I couldn't understand why Miri wasn't picking it up, but it's something she's literally never experienced, being an outsider (despite her feelings of alienation). I really disliked Olana and her tactics, and especially making this a competition. When Miri and the others began using cooperation instead, it was great. Britta's secret really surprised me - I figured she would get it, but not why. And a perfect happy ending, for everyone. Good but not great - I'm very glad I read it, I might possibly reread at some point but it's not a favorite.
  • (4/5)
    Miri has never lived outside of her quarry mining town of Mount Eskel where she always felt like an outsider. She gets the perfect way out when the Kings diviners decide that the bride of the young prince Steffan will come from her mountain town. All of the girls in the town are taken three hours down the mountain to attend the Princess Academy, where they will be taught how to be appropriate princesses. Miri flourishes in her studies, but struggles with her ties to the mountain and the opportunity to impress the prince and leave it forever. The world that Miri lives, the fictional Kingdom of Danland, is reminiscent of medieval times, with the same class struggles and difficulties. The intricacies of noble society is overlooked in favor of describing the cultural traditions of Miri's hometown, which leaves readers longing to visit this mountain retreat. Readers in grades 5-8, particularly girls, will enjoy this coming of age fairy tale.
  • (4/5)
    Miri, her father – who she calls Pa – and her sister Marda live on Mount Eskel, where the men and some of the women mine for linder, a precious rock the villagers often trade for goods from the Lowlands. Miri, named after a flower, has always wanted to work in the quarry and harvest the linder, but her father won’t let her. Miri wonders what she can do to help the mountain, but there seems to be nothing she can do. Then the Chief Delegate of the kingdom of Danland calls upon Mount Eskel, where he states that the priests of the creater god have declared that the prince’s bride shall be found on Mount Eskel. All the girls younger than the prince must go to the Princess Academy, where they will be trained in the lowlander ways. The villagers protest to this at first, but after being threatened, they allow their daughters to go on the journey and be trained. But life at the Princess Academy is not what Miri – or the other girls – expect. Tutor Olana is cruel and unfair, and some the girls have no idea why they’re here in the first place. Who wants to marry a man they don’t know? And then there’s Katar and her friends, whose competition makes everyone cringe. Miri, after taking a book and teaching herself to read fluently, becomes more competition that she and the other girls would expect – and she begins to wonder what life in a palace in the Lowlands would be like. Would it be enough to finally make some change on Mount Eskel? Could she help the poor mountain and widen trade? And what about Peder, her old friend back on the mountain? What will he think of all this? Time is running short, and the Academy Princess must be named. Can Miri gain the title and catch the prince’s eye? But still, the neverending thought: Does she even want to? ____________________________________ This book turned out to be something completely different than I’d expected. Different characters, different story, WAY different feel. But I liked it. It’s cute, sweet, and fun. It has adventure, love, friendship, and culture in it. I was, at first, unsure about Miri’s character and what her purpose was. She isn’t the most consistent character, but she’s a strong one, and you love her to death throughout the book. I thought there was a bit lacking when the girls first went to the Academy – what were they there for, really? What were they learning? How were they reacting to it? It seemed a bit bland. (I’m not a big fan of the names either…they were a bit weird. But that’s ok…I don’t have to like everyone’s names. Haha!) But then the story really begins to hit, and it’s awesome. Miri becomes more real. The competition for the title of Academy Princess becomes heated, Olana is hated, and you begin to really become immersed in the culture of the story. That was my favorite part of it. Shannon Hale obviously put a lot of thought into the country and who the people were and where they lived and why they lived like they did. It was as though it could be a real place, not just some fairy-tale land. I really liked the idea of quarry-speech and thought it was original and fascinating. I wish I could do what they did! (You’ll have to read the book to know what I mean…) My favorite character is a tie between Peder and Britta. Peder for his sweetness, sensitivity, and strength. Britta for her kindness to Miri, her fascination with the mountain and its ways and culture and people, and just who she was throughout the story. One word I would use to describe this story would be… Shaped. Despite what I felt was a rocky beginning, the middle and end were like a perfectly shaped diamond, exactly how you would want it to be. It was three dimensional, it had originality, and it shone. I literally squealed and giggled when I read the last chapter or so…it was happy and sweet and just wonderful. Definitely recommended to those who love a good, original fairytale.
  • (4/5)
    Summary:The Princess Academy is about a young girl who is from a small village. Her father never let her help because she was so small. One day someone came to town and announced that the prophets say that the next princess will be from this small village. All the girls are forced to go to the princess academy. While Miri is there she learns that she could help her family and village out for the better. Personal Reaction:I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to anyone. The way I understood the story is that it is about personal discovery. I was surprised how much I really enjoyed this book. Classroom Extension Ideas 1.I would use this in the classroom in a unit about chapter books. The students would read the book and have a book report due on the book. I would want them to tell me what the book was about but also tell me what they thought of the book.2.I would use this book in a unit about Newbery Awards. I would tell the students what the award is and then read this book to them. I would have the students go out and find a Newbery Award book and read it then write a page about what they thought about the book that they picked out.
  • (4/5)
    Tradition gone wrong indicates that a prince must marry a girl from a poor mining village, and village girls are rounded up and taken to a remote manor to learn how to be princesses. But education provides more than smooth dance steps and elegant curtsies, the girls learn information that they might be able to stop the exploitation of their village.
  • (4/5)
    This is my first audio book review, I think. So please bear with me. The audio was in full cast which I thought was great. It was nice having all the different voices and I found it easy to distinguish between them. I do think Miri sounded a bit young. But maybe it's just me because she is young. I just felt like she was closer to 12 rather then 14 and 15 (I'm not certain I'm remembering her age, but I'm fairly certain it was 14 and 15). The story was good. I think if I was reading it I would have been a little bored in the beginning. And later I felt like the story should be almost over and then discovered there were 2 more CD's to go! So it kind of threw me when they made the story go on with another subplot and prolonging the main plot. The subplot for that portion actually was quite good though and definitely added a good bit of tension to the story. This book has a touch of magic. And I really liked how it worked and how it ended up being so useful to them. Once the story was going I was able to figure out how it would probably play out but it didn't take away from the story for me. What was the true magic in this story was Shannon Hales use of words. She's got to be the queen of analogies. It was just gorgeous the way she weaved it all together. Seriously beautiful! I'll definitely be checking out more of her books! I have a feeling she could end up being a new favorite!
  • (5/5)
    Princess Academy tells the story of Miri, a teenager who lives in a small village high on a mountain where everyone quarries stone to sell to the "lowlanders." Miri is petite and her father has never let her work in the quarry. She feels useless and frustrated at her inability to help. One day a messenger from the king comes to the village to announce that the prophets in the capital have seen that the next princess will come from Miri's mountain. All the young girls are taken away to learn how to be princesses at the princess academy. When Miri is taken away from her family and home she learns things that could change life for her whole village. Miri was a great character who made me chuckle. I enjoyed watching her grow and try to decide what was really important to her. Two teenage thumbs up!
  • (4/5)
    This book is another one of my favorites. It's a story about a girl who wants to work like the guys, but is too small to. She and every other eligible girl are taken to an academy train for being a princess. To me, it's a story about self-discovery. I recommend this book.
  • (3/5)
    I thought it was cute. I don’t know if I would have chosen it as an honor book. On the surface this is a basic coming-of-age story. All the girls in her small village have to go to a school to learn how to become proper princesses. It was almost a bulk Pygmalion. It is great that the book emphasized the importance of education. The characters often went out of their way to learn more, but only because they were in competition for the title of Academy Princess.What struck me the most was how there did not seem to be any consequences for the antagonists. Lady Olana, who severely punished these young children, got to return to her comfortable life without care. Katar, another student in the academy, who was Miri’s main competition and frequently rude, spiteful, and petty, was given a fabulous opportunity in the end, but not once did she apologize for her awful behavior. Even the remaining bandits got away without punishment.It is not that I thought it was bad, I just don’t know what the fuss is all about.My final note: What does the author have against rabbits? There are several occasions where she writes about the rabbit slaughter and how Miri is responsible for it, talks about how Olana takes it over, then how one of the bandits could snap her neck like a rabbits neck??? Eww. Poor bunbun.
  • (4/5)
    Princess Academy is the story of a group of village girls who are suddenly forced (by royal decree) to enter a school for princesses-in-training. After a few months of training, the crown prince will come to the school and choose the bride that suits him best. Although the story was perhaps a tad cliché, I found it very enjoyable. Probably more so, because I listened to the full-cast audio version of the book. It had magic, good morals, and happy endings—just as every de-Grimmed fairy tale ought. This is a good book for 4th-5th grade girls who enjoy fairy-tale fantasies.
  • (3/5)
    This book was mildly cute if not cliche. The ending feels so tacked on and rushed that its disappointing. The problems the main character faces don't ever feel like they are that pressing. It was a super quick read, glad I took the time but it was pretty mediocre overall.
  • (4/5)
    Miri is named for a small mountain flower. She is small and thinks perhaps her father finds her useless in the mining of linder, stone valued in the kingdom. She learns through her experiences that other girls face their own private issues; Katar whose father doesn't love her, Britta whose father forces her to live a lie, Esa who has a useless arm... Everyone has some impediment to happiness, especially if those things prevent a view of a broader picture of life. The lessons stressed in the Academy about Conversation and Diplomacy are intriguing and useful.Useful ideas, such as the the Rules for Diplomatic Negotiations:State the ProblemAdmit Your Own ErrorState the Error of the Other PartyPropose Specific CompromisesInvite Mutual Acceptancellustrate the Negarive Outcome of Refusal and Positive of AcceptanceAssert a Deadline for AcceptanceConversation:Repeat the NameAsk QuestionsMake Observations, Not JudgementsReturn the Conversation to the Other Person
  • (5/5)
    Full Cast Audio brings this wonderful book to life - worth listening to just for the songs!
  • (4/5)
    Personal Response:The title of this book is unfortunate as it turns off many potential readers who will enjoy this story, which is not about a girl finding prince charming, but instead about a girl finding herself. The story is fairly believable, except for the parts about using a form of telepathy to communicate, called quarryspeech, which is why this is listed under the fantasy genre. Curricular Connections:This book may be used to discuss mining practices, including what types of stones are mined and how their value is determined. Princess Academy features many unique characters and students can complete a character analysis to better understand motivations for the characters' actions and viewpoints.Quarryspeech relies on singing to communicate information and warnings. This would be a great segway to discuss how different groups use songs to communicate, such as the slaves in the United States and song's part in the Underground Railroad.
  • (4/5)
    I have read some of Shannon Hale's graphic novels (Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack) and enjoyed them. I also really want to read a Posse of Princesses. When I ran across Princess Academy used I was excited to get it to read. It was a very good book.Miri lives on Mount Eskel and is too small to work in the mines there. She is smart and feels extremely left out because of not being able to do mine work. Then one day a messenger arrives; it has been divined that the Prince will marry a girl from Mount Eskel. In preparation all of the girls are sent to a specially built Princess Academy where they learn reading, writing, history, proper poise, diplomacy and etiquette. Miri excels at the lessons but wonders if she would really want to leave her mountain home to marry a lowlander.This book was a fun read. Miri is a spirited character that thinks with her head first but always tries to follow her heart. There is light humor throughout the story which livens up the story. This book is a wonderful read on girls finding their own place in life. It is also nice that after an initial spat of catty behavior, the girls learn to work together and work for what is best for them as a group. They find that winning the Prince is the least of what they will gain from attending the Academy.I enjoyed the camaraderie between the girls and loved the lessons they learned. Miri is an especially endearing character who, despite her small stature, packs quite a powerful personality. The story is very complete and the end throws a couple fun twists at the reader that are unexpected.This novel wasn't as magical as I was hoping and some of the scenes in the Princess Academy run a bit long. Overall though it was a very good book. It is appropriate for all ages. It is probably best suited to younger girls or young adult girls. Nothing ever gets all that dangerous or dire, and even the evil characters aren't really all that evil. So, if you are hoping for an adventurous read look elsewhere. This book is more about girls finding their place in life and learning to work together.Overall I enjoyed it and it was a fun and heartfelt read. I will definitely read more of Hale's books. Definitely not an edgy book, but sweet and fun all the same.
  • (4/5)
    I thought Princess Academy was worthy of it's Newberry title. In the book Mari thinks she is worthless because she does not work in the quarry like the rest of her family and villagers. Once the priests determine that the next princess will come from her region all the girls are sent to an academy to learn. At the academy the sheltered girls learn a lot, but also teach their instructor that they are not the ignorant mountain girls that they were supposed. Mari discovers that she is worthy of more and why she was kept out of the quarry all these years. Issues covered in the book are familial love, prejudice, importance of an education, and being fair and kind.Hale writing reminded me a little of Lois Lowry. There is a magical, but real aspect to her writing that made everything believable. I could easily see the story in my mind and be carried away with it.
  • (3/5)
    Miri is a fourteen year old girl from Mt. Eskel who has never been allowed to work with the rest of the villagers. Because of this, she feels like an outcast in the community and feels cut off from the culture that is largely formed by their working life in the quarry. She is very close to her father and her sister and best friends with a boy in the village, his name is Peder.A messanger arrives, one day, and announces that the nation's priests have informed the nation that the next princess will come from Mt. Eskell.A princess academy will be set up to train the young girls the ways of the lowland noblemen and noblewomen. ASt the end, the prince will visit this academy and pick a girl. Miri attends the academy, and though the academy is difficult because of the strict teacher, Miri excels in several things. Toward the end she must show the feelings she has about her culture and of Peder. I enjoyed this book because it shows somewhat of a fairy tale as well as making it modern. In my opion this could also be contemporary realistic fiction.In the classroom, I would let the children draw and explain differnt ways in which the story could have ended without actually reading the end. I would also make a list of books that they could name off, which are similar to this book as far as genre.