Young Adult Literature
Writers write to communicate, and fiction writers communicate best when they
communicate truths that touch us all. Shannon Hale's Princess Academy is
about communication. Not only does it explore a magical possibility--a form of
telepathy through a very special stone used by those who quarry and work
that stone--it also shows us how communication can bring pain and cause
unnecessary challenges for those who use it poorly or not at all.
Hale's characters take for granted a way to speak to each other through the
bones of the earth that they do not realize is unique to them and their
community, perhaps because of the very air they breathe. Only when they
must deal with the demands of those outside of their community do they begin
to see how special they and the stones that give them their livelihoods
Even more than this magical communication, however, the characters of
Princess Academy learn the magic of being honest with others, especially
those they love. While the truth may hurt, misunderstandings and the false
ideas they lead to hurt even more, if for no other reason than that the pain
could have been avoided.
Hale, in her latest novel for young adults, urges her readers to think about
the messages they send, and the interpretations they put on the messages
they receive. She shows us the need for true speaking and true listening,
and she communicates this in prose that lifts us and sings to us and fills
our hearts. The Association for Mormon Letters is proud to present this
award in Young Adult Fiction to Princess Academy.