I got a Kindle for Mother’s Day! I wanted to buy an e-reader for Christmas, but didn’t want a Kindle because I couldn’t check out library books on it. Once Amazon announced they would be partnering with Overdrive to allow library users to check out books on a Kindle, my kids decided it would be the perfect Mother’s Day/birthday gift. Unfortunately, the Amazon Overdrive partnership won’t be happening until summer. In the meantime, I either had to purchase books from Amazon or find free ones to download. I am on the committee to help select the 2012-13 Iowa Teen Awards, so I finally broke down and spent the $5.99 to download Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix, one of the 40 books I need to finish reviewing this summer.
I have read many of Haddix’s series “Shadow Children” and really enjoyed them, so I was looking forward to this title. It is much lighter than that series, but her writing style is still outstanding. This title is filled with humor and written for grades 5-9. It is the story of Cecelia, a princess who is in hiding as a peasant. Her parents (the king and queen) were killed just after she was born, so advisers whisked her away to a secret spot to wait for her turn to become the princess she always knew she was.
With her childhood friend, Harper, she travels to the palace to take her “rightful place.” A bit of intrigue, a bit of romance and some complications ensue. Ella, from Just Ella, also by Haddix, makes an appearance to help sort things out.
This new fairy tale is part of a growing trend of princess stories written for middle school girls, but stands out as one of the best, alongside Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine) and Princess Academy (Shannon Hale.)