Palace of Stone (Princess Academy Book #2) by Shannon Hale
"When Miri and a few of the girls from Mount Eskel's princess academy travel to the capital to help the princess-to-be get ready for her wedding, they have no idea what to expect. Some are worried about leaving their beloved mountain for the first time, others are thrilled about going to the big city, and Miri is mostly just happy to see her best friend. But not everything in Asland is as perfect as the mountain girls hoped. As she finds herself deep in the middle of an upheaval that affects everyone she loves. Torn between her loyalty to the princess and her belief in her new friends' daring ideas, and between an old love and a new crush, Miri must test the strengths and skills she gained in the princess academy."
I really enjoyed the first book. It was so cute and yet Miri stood out as a strong female character. I liked the camaraderie between the girls. I'm not quite sure where I thought the second book would go, but it wasn't this. I definitely did not think the second book would go that direction. And, unfortunately, I did not really love it. It was okay. It had some good moments, and Miri still had a few good, strong moments, but I didn't feel like it lived up to the first one. I think it was the topic that I didn't like. I'm not sure why I didn't like the topic. It's an okay topic to discuss and be involved in, especially if the circumstances are correct, but I just didn't like it in this instance. I liked that more about the quarry-speak was brought up, and how it was used in a different way. I liked that Miri was able to go to school, and I liked many of the characters. It was still well written and there were a few moments where I found myself excited to see what happened, but mostly it fell flat for me. I'm sad about it, because I had really high hopes for this book. I liked the courage that a few of the characters had to show, and I liked that it showed how situations and decisions are not always black and white.
I did like that this book was clean. There wasn't any profanity that I can remember, which is good. There were a few kisses, but that's as far as it went. There was some violence in this book. It's not too graphic or over-the-top. If you enjoyed the first book then I would still recommend reading this one, but know that it goes in a direction you will not be expecting.
Rating: PG (No profanity, some minor violence, and a few kisses.)
Recommendation: Fifth or Sixth grade and up (The topic of this book is heavier than the first one, and I don't think I would recommend it for fourth graders.)