Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out-of-print, etc.
By: Shannon Hale
PRINCESS ACADEMY is one of the rare books that I have read multiple times. Every time I read it I get something new from the experience.
I think that one of the strongest parts of Shannon Hale's writing is her character development. I fall in love with every single one of her characters every time.
Miri shines in this novel. I think that if there were a literary character that I think best represents me, Miri would be it. I too, am a mountain girl. I live in Utah, high above sea level. I grew up in a very small rural town where the people worked very hard on farms, dairies, or orchards. Miri is smart, and eager to prove herself. Yep, me to a tee.
I am a total sucker for the best friend love. I think all of us know that real love begins with a deep friendship, not from a smoldering look shot across a biology class. At least the kind of love that lasts. Peder is a perfect fit for Miri. He also has dreams and desires beyond the quarry and mountainside. He accepts Miri for who she is and loves her ambitions. When others were hesitant of Miri's "crazy ideas," he believes in her.
Along those lines, Britta is everything a best friend should be. Britta is a culmination of the traits possessed by many friends that I had over the years: self-sacrificing, kind, positive, supportive, and unconditional. Miri in turn is just the confidence boost that Britta needs. In fact, it seems that Miri has an uncanny ability to notice the good things in everyone around her, including those that cause her pain.
This is a book for a younger demographic. However, I find myself falling in love with it every time I reread it.
Oh, and I know I've said this many times. Shannon Hale is so wonderful. Makes me love her stories even more.