If you are an all knowing Newbery Award master you might recall The Princess Academy receiving a Newbery Honor back in 2006. I love reading Shannon Hale's blog reaction to the Newbery Honor announcement. Check it out here. The Princess Academy is a great book for girls from about 4th grade and up. We wrote about several of Shannon Hale's books previously if you want a refresher. Check them out here.
If you are going/want to read, Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale I would suggest reading The Princess Academy first. This is a series, and it is a series where it is helpful to have the previous book fresh in your memory. My little sister gave me the heads up on needing to read the first book in the series, and I am glad I listened. Having the first book fresh in my memory, b/c I hadn't read it since 2005 or so, made Palace of Stone more enjoyable. I wasn't confused or constantly trying to recall who is who or what happened to bring them here. It's worth the time of the re-read; trust me.
Palace of Stone is the second book in the Princess Academy series. The book is left open for another book, but I would be surprised if Hale wrote a third one. However, I was surprised when this one came out so who knows. Shannon Hale has been known to surprise.
Personally, I'd give Palace of Stone 4.5 out of 5 stars. I'm pretty strict on what books get the perfect 5 stars, but this one was awfully close. I enjoyed the storyline, Miri's struggle with herself, and how the story panned out. I also loved how Miri ended up growing up a lot and becoming a much stronger person than she every imagined she could be; the character development was great, and I found this to be my favorite part of the book. Overall, the storyline was great, the loss of the .5 star was the predictable ending. I was happy to have my 'happy ever after' ending which Shannon Hale is known for. I love this about her, but this time this 'happy ever after' had a bit of predictability to it that I found a weak. I found myself just reading the last few pages to finish rather than to continue to read the story for the storyline's sake.
Amazon had the following book description:
"Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to
Miri. She and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help
the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding.There, Miri also has a chance
to attend school-at the Queen's Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem
sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening
plans. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between
an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the
bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place.