Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s, 2007
Genre: Young Adult Ficton, Grades 5 through 9
Award Won: Newberry Honor Award
My Rating: B+
Summary from the School Library Journal:
The thought of being a princess never occurred to the girls living on Mount Eskel. Most plan to work in the quarry like the generations before them. When it is announced that the prince will choose a bride from their village, 14-year-old Miri, who thinks she is being kept from working in the quarry because of her small stature, believes that this is her opportunity to prove her worth to her father. All eligible females are sent off to attend a special academy where they face many challenges and hardships as they are forced to adapt to the cultured life of a lowlander.
So many people have loved and recommended this book to me. I finally got around to reading it. It was a pleasure to spend time with the twenty mountain girls who attended the academy. I identified with their hopes and struggles, their dreams and their homesickness. I joined in their horror when they encountered a mean-spirited teacher.
Tutor Olana was blatant in her disrespect for the girls who came from a place she considered inferior. Her prejudice against the girls was obvious. In spite of the odds, the girls pushed themselves to learn to read, write, learn history, the art of diplomacy and negotiation, and many more things.
An interesting aspect of the story was something called “quarry-speak.” This was the way people from the quarry and village communicated with each other when words weren’t able to be spoken.
There were plenty of events in this book that kept me turning the pages. There were, however, when I felt the story dragged. I experienced impatience several times and just skipped ahead. I know I’m not the target audience for this book, but I still wondered if the YA reader would also lose patience. I hope that you, if you have already read this book, will tell me of your experience reading the book.
About the author:
I started the year reading Shannon Hale’s popular novel Austenland. I’ve read some of her other books as well. My favorite novel is her One Thousand Days. So, yes I’m a Shannon Hale fan.
She began writing books at age ten and kept on going. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing. Her books are for both young adults and adults as well. You can visit her official website here: Shannon Hale