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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Books: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale 
28th-Feb-2014 09:46 pm
Read Irresponsibly
Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale. Fantasy, paperback, 314 pages. First in the series. It was good, but I'm not going on, so to the giveawaybox you go.

This is a middle-school level book, if not elementary. The plot is absolutely straightforward, with only one (rather formulaic) plot twist of note. The royal priests divine that the next queen will come from a tiny, illiterate mountain village. Therefore, all girls of applicable age must attend a newly-formed academy for a year to become acceptable candidates.

Our heroine has the Disney-plot/curse all over her. She is the youngest of two girls; her mother died right after her birth; she is the smallest girl of her age group; and she is left out of things by her loving-but-distant father. She is pretty, smart, talented, and outgoing. She likes a boy in the village who is also a little different and more gifted than the rest.

You can probably fill in the plot from here.

I recommend it to anyone who would like to see what happens when an old-fashioned governess takes on an entire village-worth of Heidi. Alternatively, I recommend it to people who liked Heidi, thought The Selection was missing something, and don't mind a Sound of Music soundtrack.
1st-Mar-2014 03:09 am (UTC)
I'd place it at late elementary - I consider it right at my 10 yr old 5th graders completely-on-grade reading level, if that helps anyone.

It is not dark enough for the dystopian readers my daughter and her classmates are. Had my child been able to read on grade level at younger ages, she might have read it in 3rd or 4th grade. But the stragglers are now in the middle of The Hunger Games trilogy, which is aimed at older and more cynical :) readers than Princess Academy.

I found it a nice read & have kept my copy on the chance that my kid'll eventually give it a shot. Because it's a Newbery Honor winner it's likely to be on summer reading lists for children in case anyone's picking up books for kids.
1st-Mar-2014 03:26 am (UTC)
I'm glad to know I wasn't completely off on the age/reading level. This was an easier read than most of what I read in 4th grade GT.

Ok, so maybe try The Selection? It's dystopian and has almost the same plot.
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