“Princess Academy” – Perfect for the Tween Audience

Book Review : Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Spoiler Alert!

Mount Eskel is home to a small village who quarries the precious linder stone for the lowlands. Miri is small and feels useless since her father won’t even allow her to enter the quarry. One day an official from the palace announces that the priests have determined that the bride for Prince Steffan will be found from the province of Mount Eskel.  Traditionally the eligible girls will attend the Princess Academy to prepare themselves to meet the Prince. All the young women from 13 – 17 years old attend the school where they learn important subjects like reading, poise and conversation. No one could have guessed everything else these girls will learn in a year. One thing is certain, Miri and her village will never be the same again.

Adult Point of View

Princess Academy is possibly my favorite Shannon Hale book. I re-read this novel to prepare myself for the sequel and found that I was thoroughly enchanted. I love the quarry-speech, the singing and the quaint holding of hands.

The setting feels like an old fable, but the story is actually so much more. I love how the education of these mountain girls makes it possible for them to change their lives by understanding commerce. I love the thirst the girls have for learning and wanting to teach others. I love seeing a sense of justice. The themes of friendship, family, forgiveness, hard work and personal worth are by far stronger than the initial desire the girls have of becoming the princess. Miri experiences the most growth, originally she is unsure of herself and becomes confident, brave and compassionate.

This is a perfect novel for tweens who are good readers and for young teens. I am giving it a high rating because of the values it exhibits, the beautiful writing and because Miri deserves it.

4 out of 5 stars

– the Mother

Teen Point of View

I think it is a good book for people younger than me, but it has a very unique idea. I wish it had been more exciting.

2 out of 5 stars

– the Daughter

(Please note the teen is almost 15 years old and Princess Academy is a little younger audience.)

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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3 Responses to “Princess Academy” – Perfect for the Tween Audience

  1. Katie says:

    I love Princess Academy! I agree it’s one of Shannon Hale’s best. It’s definitely more geared toward the “tween” set (9-12) than Hale’s other books, which appeal more to readers age 12 and up. I usually suggest Princess Academy to kids who’ve enjoyed Ella Enchanted, since they have about the same target audience.

    • I agree with you that Ella Enchanted is a good recommendation for Princess Academy fans. What did you think of The Goose Girl? I enjoyed it, but I thought Enna Burning was rather violent for girls in elementary school.

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