Hale's writing is heavy with simple but lovely metaphors. She transports the reader to Miri's village where the mountain dominates their lives until the Princess Academy alters them forever. It wasn't until about half way through the book that I really got into it. I was reading on the bus and had a hard time keeping back tears. Miri's fear of being useless because of her small size was so sad and sweet. I enjoyed watching Miri overcome her fears and develop the self-confidence she needed to help the village and other girls at the academy. If you're looking for a sweet, gentle read with a bit of suspense then Princess Academy may be what you're looking for. This is definitely a girly read great for elementary and early middle school readers.
Publisher: Bloomsbury, 2007 Pages: 336
Rating: 4 Stars Source: Public Library
Summary: "Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess. Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates."