Princess Academy

Shannon Hale

5 Stars

I love this book. I have read this countless times over the years, enchanted by Miri’s beautiful mountain world. I love how no matter how many times I read this book, it takes me through a journey. Despite knowing what is going to happen, I am still swayed by Miri’s opinions of herself and the other characters, and watch them change as she learns more about other’s lives as well as her own purpose. While this is a middle grade novel, I never felt like things were being oversimplified or under explained. The hardships that the quarry workers face are very much dressed, but the community aspect of the village is also very much celebrated. The traditions and connections that the villagers shared in the end were a very important part of how the girls were able to achieve what they did in the end. 
I also really enjoyed the fantasy aspect of this novel, because it was not written in a way that made it feel as though it could not exist, but rather that quarry speech was just a part of the world that we do not know about. I would not classify this as a fantasy novel, it seems much more like a story of the real world with a dash of magic added in. 
I especially enjoyed the fact that Miri, who has always felt like an outsider in her own home, is not only one of the smartest girls at the university, but also the one who takes the initiative to help her home with her newfound knowledge, and actually teach others how to read. I also felt that it was refreshing that Stefan was not perfect. I feel like I relate to Miri in many ways, from her love of books and knowledge, to her desire to understand the world around her.
In the end, I think that this book is like a portal to the feeling of home. Read it once, and you will love it forever.

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