Our first “oldie but goodie” book is a novel by one of my favorite YA authors, Shannon Hale. I do not re-read books often since I have so much on my “to read” list already, but “The Goose Girl” is something I pick up every once in a while to read again. This is the book that helped me endure a cross-country trip in a big junky U-Haul truck when I moved from Wisconsin to California. I get carsick pretty easily and I still devoured this book.
The story is a retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale. It follows Ani or you could call her, Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree. When the king dies, Ani is supposed to step up and take the throne, but instead her mother decides to marry her off to a foreign prince. While en route to meet her husband-to-be, her jealous lady-in-waiting, Selia, uses her persuasive abilities to convince the guard to discard Ani and make Selia the new “princess”. Ani now has to figure out a way to survive on her own for the first time and convince the royalty of this foreign land of her true identity, all while trying to make sure she isn’t murdered by the impostor princess Selia. Action, romance, prince and princesses, magical powers, evil doers..."The Goose Girl” has it all!
Alright folks, let’s do this.
- What really attracts me to Shannon Hale’s books is her whimsical writing style. It embraces the world that she’s created which is full of princesses, strange magical powers and tons of incredible adventures. Ms. Hale does a wonderful job setting the tone and feel of the story from the very first page.
- It’s a fun twist on fantasy. It’s fantasy light. This isn’t an epic tale full of sorcerers and magical items. However, some really cool fantasy elements exist that I really enjoyed discovering along the way (new powers are discovered in the sequels).
- The Goose Girl, or Ani, is a wonderful strong female lead. She starts out this story as a pretty helpless princess, but not because she’s whiny or wimpy. She’s just sheltered and naïve. Ani grows throughout the story due to her circumstances and becomes an incredibly well rounded heroine. I love how real she is too. That’s not easy to do in YA fantasy.
- It’s a story about finding out who you are and not worrying so much about fitting in. As someone who had trouble “fitting in” during her high school years, I found I really connected to Ani and her struggles finding out who she really was.
- The love story is adorable. It’s a refreshing break from the angsty, sexual love triangles that are popular in YA fiction these days (though you know I love that too!). It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.
"The Goose Girl" by Shannon Hale is published by Bloomsbury and is available everywhere you can find awesome books. It has a different cover now, but I like this old school cover better! Go and get yourself a copy today.