Review: Princess Academy

Princess Academy (Princess Academy, #1)Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My preschool kids have been enjoying Shannon and Dean Hale’s The Princess in Black series (I reviewed a few entries last year). So when I found out that Shannon Hale also does middle grade and young adult books, I recommended them to my oldest, the nine year old. After she read the trilogy, she asked if I could read it with her at night so she could share the books with me. So we began a semi-nightly ritual of reading a chapter a night.

I think Ms. Hale has done an excellent job with the book. Even thought it’s meant for a younger reader, she played with the expected tropes enough to keep me guessing about what the ending would be. In fact, there were about 3 points in the story where it zigged when I was sure it would zag.

If you have any young readers who enjoy stories of falling in love and dealing with the confusion those feelings can bring, I think this is a good book. It seems to be relatively realistic in how it deals with that. It also has boarding school elements – getting along with folks when you’ve been thrown together out of your control. And, since I’m recommending for younger readers: no profanity, characters hold hands – but nothing more sexually explicit, there’s some violence – but nothing gruesome.

Between these two series, it makes me curious to check if Ms. Hale has written any books for adults, because she does a great job plotting out these books when so many authors seem to phone it in when they’re writing for a younger audience.

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