Hale, Shannon. 2005. PRINCESS ACADEMY. New York: Bloomsbury. ISBN 1582349932
PRINCESS ACADEMY written by Shannon Hale, author of THE GOOSE GIRL and ENNA BURNING, is a delightful novel set in the fictional
locale of Danland. In a setting reminiscent of "long ago and far away," Miri and her companions are selected to
attend a "princess academy" to prepare themselves to meet the prince. (The priests have forseen that the future
bride of the prince will come from this small town on top of a remote mountain.) The girls range from twelve to eighteen.
For the first time in their lives, they are learning to read and write. Of course, there are other less essential items taught
at the school as well: conversation, poise, curtseying, dancing, diplomacy, etc. As the school year draws to an end, however,
some of the girls are realizing that they do not want the prince to choose them. They begin to doubt that the royalty lives
"happily ever after." After all, how much do they actually know about this prince? Then the girls realize something:
this education they're receiving is empowering them. It's not about who "wins" the prince; it's about gaining knowledge
of themselves and the world. This education is something that they will have the rest of their lives no matter where they
live or who they marry.
PRINCESS ACADEMY is narrated by Miri, a fourteen year old with a sensitive insight to her own emotions and of the emotions
of those around her. She has always felt like an outcast in her village, but through her experiences at the academy, she learns
that she has many strengths. Her academy experiences make her smarter, wiser, and ultimately a strong leader. PRINCESS ACADEMY
is a delightful and enjoyable read with a satisfying ending.