Shannon Hale is one of the authors I’ve found though Pollyanna’s Booklist.  Princess Academy is a Newbery Honor book, and is aimed at a slightly younger audience than the rest of her books, but it is still just as satisfying a read for an adult.

Miri lives in a small mountain village with her father and two sisters.  One late autumn day, it is announced that the prince will choose a bride from the village and all eligible females are to attend a academy to prepare for the princes’ choice in spring.

The girls are isolated and the competition among them becomes fierce as they first learn to read and write ; then history, economics, diplomacy and deportment.  The tutor is harsh, forbidding visits home and treating the girls badly.  Miri’s intelligence and character lead her to fight against the tutor’s injustices, and as Miri begins to discover a silent way to communicate called quarry-speech, danger threatens.

Princess Academy is an unpredictable and multi-layered story, with well-drawn characters; even the tutor is realistic, with understandable motivations.  Miri’s journey, as she begins to understand the complexity of the world and other people, is fascinating to follow.

Princess Academy was the first Shannon Hale book I read, six books later, she is now one of my favorite authors.  (Just don’t ask how many favorite authors I have!)

Other books I have reviewed by Shannon Hale: Rapunzel’s Revenge