Pennyroyal Academy

M.A. Larson. Putnam, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-16324-1
Pennyroyal Academy is no place for a damsel in distress. Inside the boot camp–style training ground, Princesses of the Shield learn to harness the power of “courage, compassion, kindness, and discipline” to battle witches and other foes. Their greatest weapon is in knowing themselves, a difficult task for Evie, who stumbles into her first day without a name, a royal bloodline, or even a proper dress. First-time author Larson, a film and TV writer, uses strikingly crisp imagery to tell a coming-of-age story rounded out with a gaggle of fast-won friends who provide support and comic relief—like Basil, a boy whose mother so badly wanted a girl he was sent to become a princess instead of a knight. The author playfully nods to classic fairy tales, incorporating a Frog Prince, a witchy stepmother, and a jealous stepsister tearing a ball gown to tatters, but he also imbues the fantasy with an important, affirming message for readers: “You get to decide what you want to be. No one else.” Ages 10–up. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 10/07/2014
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-61176-302-7
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-14-242714-9
Hardcover - 450 pages - 978-1-4104-7870-2
Prebound-Glued - 320 pages - 978-0-606-37571-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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