Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale
I pretty much adore Shannon Hale, and I haven't even read Enna Burning yet. I don't know why I keep putting it off. Maybe because then I'll have read it and I won't be able to look forward to it anymore. (Come on. That totally makes sense.) So rather than read the sequel to The Goose Girl, I read Princess Academy.
It had everything. A poor village, an ultimatum from the King, an extremely likable heroine, a love interest, a school setting with a beastly teacher and a nice handyman/cook, horrible bandits with names like Dogface and selective telepathy.
Each chapter started with a snippet from one of the village's quarrying songs:
My toes are colder than my feet
My feet are colder than my ribs
My ribs are colder than my breath
My breath is colder than my lips
And my lips are purple and blue, purple and blue
It was wonderful. The love interest storyline was believable and thrilling, and Miri's conflicting feelings about Peder and the unknown prince were also very, very well done. Grown-ups take notice—not only was Peder dreamy... so was Miri's father. He reminded me of Elizabeth Peters' Radcliffe Emerson. Swoon-eriffic.
I might break down and finally read Enna Burning this week.