Rad Reads for Teens

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

A retelling of the Grimm Brothers' tale, Crown Princess Anidori-Kiladra of Kildenree lives in luxury but still seems to feels uncomfortable in her skin. As she works with her aunt, she learns that she can speak with and understand animals, unlike her mother who has the gift of people-speaking. Soon, however, her aunt is sent away and then Ani, herself, is sent to Bayern, a neighboring kingdom. She is meant as a bride for the crown prince, as well as a peace-offering, so the kingdoms will not go to war.

On the way there, Selia (her lady-in-waiting) and many of her guards attack Ani and her faithful guards, most of whom are killed. Ani runs and finds shelter in the Bayern forest. She takes the name Isi and bides her time as a goose girl, until she can find a way to reveal that the Princess Ani who has presented herself as the bride is really an imposter. Along the way, she finds true friends, discovers how others live and nurtures another remarkable gift - the ability to speak with the wind.

Be forewarned: There is a surprising amount of violence (including animal cruelty) in this long tale. Yet, the story, the language and the characters all lead the reader on a worthwhile journey where Ani finds that she is a real princess who can be a leader among her people.


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