I am a little late reviewing this one. But I figured I could get in some of the Newbery winners that I missed over the years, and Princess Academy by Shannon Hale was my first choice.
I admit it- I always assumed Princess Academy was another one of the “princessy-fairy tales-giggling girls” books. Boy, was I ever wrong! A small mountain village, whose only export is the stones they mine from their quarry is chosen by the Chief Priests as the place the young Prince will find his bride. Thus, a Princess Academy is built and run by a seemingly miserable woman. All the girls between the ages of 12 and 17 are taken from the village to live at the Academy where they are trained for a year to learn the ways of a Princess. Some of the girls are dying to become the princess and leave their miserable mountain while others are dying to escape and live their lives of freedom on their beautiful mountain.
I don’t think a simple summary can do this book justice (which is part of the reason I was never convinced to read this before- it seemed blah). Any summary will include spoilers of the small twists and turns that make this book magical. All I can say is I loved it, and I completely understand the medal on its cover!