Book Review: A True Princess by Diane Zahler

A True Princess imageThis week I’m excited to offer a couple of posts about a new fantasy book for middle readers. It’s called A True Princess by Diane Zahler, and it should delight young readers who like Ella Enchanted, The Goose Girl, and other retold fairy tales.

Take a look at my review below, then enter a comment to win a copy compliments of the publisher, HarperCollins. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. It will be open until midnight (PST), Tuesday, February 15. (Please note: the giveaway is closed.) Check in tomorrow for a Q and A with the author, Diane Zahler, where she shares some of her own favorite fairy tales and talks about writing A True Princess. Here’s my review:

There are many rules to define a true princess, and Lilia seems to break all of them. Breaking the first one, A True Princess Does Not Eavesdrop, is how Lilia finds out that her stepmother plans to sell her as a serving girl to the miller. It’s a fateful moment, because that’s when she decides to run away to the north. As a baby she was found floating in a basket down the river from that direction, and she longs to discover who she truly is.

Joining her on the journey are her adopted sister and brother, Karina and Kai, who love Lilia like a true sister. Together the three face the perils of the journey, including an encounter with the Elf King, and discover many things about themselves along the way, only one of which is Lilia’s heritage.

A True Princess by Diane Zahler combines elements of several tales—The Princess and the Pea and old Norse legends—to weave a delightful story of self-discovery. Lilia is both curious and courageous. She is also fiercely determined to do what’s right and find a place where she at last fits in.

Even though she seems more mature than her twelve years of life, especially since a decade of them was spent on an isolated farm, I easily overlooked that as I got caught up in Lilia’s grand adventure. I recommend A True Princess for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged eight to 12.

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