Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

34327500Lynn: Retold fairy tales are extremely popular in our area and it took us most of the summer to finally get Princess of the Midnight Ball (Bloomsbury 2009) away from our teens long enough to read it ourselves! As she did in Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow (Bloomsbury 2008), George shows that she is a master of the form, writing with verve and imagination while honoring the original story. Here the queen makes her bargain with the wicked King Under Stone to bear children but also to ensure her country’s victory in a war. Granted wishes have serious consequences, of course, and the queen dies of exhaustion, passing the curse on to her twelve young daughters. George enriches her story by providing wonderfully realized countries both above and below the ground, political schemes and power struggles and the clever use of traditional fairy tale elements. Most notable though are her vivid characters who emerge as distinct and sympathetic individuals. Galen, the young soldier, is steadfast and kind but he also knits – a detail our teens loved. Rose, the beautiful oldest princess, falls into a fountain and catches pneumonia. When was the last time anyone of us read about a fairy tale princess with a red nose and a cough? Even all of her eleven sisters have well developed personalities. There is the requisite lovely happy ending but George maintains a high degree of suspense before nicely weaving together all the threads for a satisfying conclusion. This is ranking high with our teens as one of their favorite books this year and I agree! Don’t mis this one – a comfort book with brains, energy and charm. Here’s hoping Jessica Day George takes on another fairy tale soon! Any suggestions?

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

1 Comment on "Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George"

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  1. angela.craft@gmail.com' Angela says:

    I have to admit I wasn’t nearly as smitten with this one as you were, Lynn, but I wanted to let you know Brittany passed on to me Cindy’s recommendation for Juliet Marillier’s “Wildwood Dancing” and I LOVE IT.

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