"The book is a fresh approach to the traditional princess story with unexpected plot twists and great emotional resonance."
2006 Newbery Committee
"There are many pleasures to this satisfying tale: a precise lyricism to the language and a rhythm to the story that takes its tropes from many places, but its heart from ours...[A]n unalloyed joy."
Kirkus, starred review
"The story is much like the mountains, with plenty of suspenseful moments that peak and fall, building into the next intense event. Each girl's story is brought to a satisfying conclusion, but this is not a fluffy, predictable fairy tale, even though it has wonderful moments of humor. Instead, Hale weaves an intricate, multilayered story about families, relationships, education, and the place we call home."
School Library Journal, starred review
"Hale nicely interweaves feminist sensibilities in this quest-for-a-prince-charming, historical-fantasy tale. Strong suspense and plot drive the action."
"Hale breathes new life into the fairy tale form with this richly imagined fantasy. A truly marvelous book, rich with color, adventure and romance."
"I believe it’s a book for everybody. Hale knows that 'realistic' doesn’t have to mean 'unrelentingly ugly.' Hale offers us a world full of grief and fear and loneliness – but also full of love and trust and decency. There are adventures and dangers, and the most compelling, believable, poignant love story I have read in many a year. I was moved to tears and to laughter, and caught up in the grace and beauty."
Orson Scott Card
“The imaginative setting for the story makes it timeless and universal. . . . This new classic will have a place with leisure readers and in the classroom.”
"[A] charming young-adult fantasy. The mountain setting creates an evocative sense of a world apart, with just a tantalizing touch of magic."
"I adored this charming tale of overcoming hardships that puts a twist on happily ever after."-Dawn Hannawi, Chesterfield Books, Chesterfield Twp, MI (Book Sense Autumn Picks 2005)
"The Princess Academy is a perfect chapter book for older elementary or middle school kids. . . . [A] satisfying tale with an even more satisfying ending."
The Post and Courier
"With this . . . poetically insightful writing, the reader will enjoy following Miri and her journey to self-acceptance."
The Pilot (North Carolina)
"[A] magical read!"
"Miri’s culture is deftly drawn; snippets from the quarriers’ working songs lead each chapter, and the harsh yet beautiful physical and cultural details of Miri’s world keep this optimistic tale believable. This could be a useful introduction to fantasy for realistic buffs — the authentic sniping and backbiting of jealous girls cooped up together for a year, the character-driven plot, and the vigorous prose will carry readers of all kinds into the center of the story."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"PRINCESS ACADEMY is the strong, well-written story of one girl's determination to show that even a small mountain flower can be as valuable as a gold crown."
"Hale is an extraordinary narrative writer who creates characters with whom the reader can relate. [With Princess Academy,] Shannon Hale continues to shine."
Deseret News (Utah)
"Faceted and brilliant, PRINCESS ACADEMY is a jewel of a book, by an author who is rapidly becoming one of my favorites."
bakka-phoenix science fiction bookstore
"Full of suspense...this novel by acclaimed author Shannon Hale will keep young readers stuck to the page like the winter snow on Miri's beloved mountain."
Some early reviews from a girl's reading group in beautiful Austin, Texas, April 2005:
"Princess Academy was a fantastic book, and I can't wait for it to come out so other people can discover it! ...I could hardly put the book down! The moods in Princess Academy seemed to morph into one another, so that one moment you were excited, and the next mad. It's a great book that is full of surprises!!"
"ohmygosh, I LOVED Princess Academy!!!! It was awesome."
"i read it too. it is a reeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyy goooooooooood book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"A wonderful book with a original story to tell, The Princess Academy is great! EVERYONE, should read it, well, maybe Aaron wouldn't like it, but anyway!
"Ahhhhh, Princess Academy!! I just love, love, love her writing. It's so.....keep-you-up-at-night writing!"
From some sassy Texas librarians
"Loved it! This is a wonderful "princess" story. I loved the strength of the girls as well as the changing dynamics of their relationships. PA is beautifully written and it was a pleasure to curl up and read. More Shannon Hale please!"
"Enchanting, well written. Characters were likeable - admirable from the start. (Loved Goose Girl too!) Thank you!"
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