So, I finished up Shannon Hales' The Princess Academythis morning.
The title and the beginning of the book threw me off a bit. Here is the story of the people of Mount Eskel, a far outlying territory of Danland, where they are all quarry workers except for Miri who is too small to be useful. Then the chief delegate comes and says the royal priests have divined that the prince's next wife will come from the mountain, so all the girls of eligible age have to go to the Princess Academy. Usually, this was just a formality, as the noble girls would already know how to read and write, know their history, commerce and diplomacy, and know all the court dances. But the academy has it's work cut out in training up the village girls.
But after awhile, it becomes so much more than this. This is the story of Miri, trying to find where she belongs, trying to find a way to be useful. This is the story of the village girls, proving they are more than hicks. This is finding strength in your past, your home, your family, your traditions.
And it's all really well written and gripping. About half way through, this book just grabbed me and held on. I thought about it when I went to bed at night and as I drove. I thought about it in the shower and while running errands. It haunted me as I read it, but in that really good way. I really liked it. You should read it. Go Newberry!