Princess Academy is a well-written novel that can possibly fill in for young readers who want to read something like The Selection series by Kiera Cass, which is geared to young adults.
Chapter book, fiction
by Shannon Hale
Interest level: grades 4 through 7
4 out of 5 stars
It is quite common for students, seems to happen a lot in grade 4, to show interest in popular books that are written for young adults. School librarians work to provide appropriate reading material for young readers, and the reality is that some popular books contain material or situations that are too mature to be included in an elementary school library collection. I encourage these young readers to discuss the book they are interested in reading with their parents, and then I try to identify a book in the library collection that might be a similar read.
When several students showed interested in The Selection series by Kiera Cass, I set about to find an alternative for younger ages. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale is the book I recently read that I would recommend.
When it is announced that the Prince will select a bride from her small village, Miri is forced to leave behind her simple life in the quarry and enter the Princess Academy. There she faces a harsh and cruel academy mistress and must navigate the competition among the other girls. Will she learn enough to become the one chosen to be Princess, and is that even what she wants?
The story features intrigue, a little mysticism, and a budding romance as we watch Miri grow from a girl to a young woman. The power of reading and education also changes the life of the girls and the village. Hale has written strong characters and a mystical, yet believable setting.