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A True Princess by Diane Zahler

Published by HarperCollins Children’s (An Imprint of HarperCollins)

Pages: 192

Ages: 8-12

Publishers Summary: Twelve-year-old Lilia is not a very good servant. In fact, she’s terrible! She daydreams, she breaks dishes, and her cooking is awful. Still, she hardly deserves to be sold off to the mean-spirited miller and his family. Refusing to accept that dreadful fate, she decides to flee. With her best friend, Kai, and his sister, Karina, beside her, Lilia heads north to find the family she’s never known. But danger awaits. . . .

As their quest leads the threesome through the mysterious and sinister Bitra Forest, they suddenly realize they are lost in the elves’ domain. To Lilia’s horror, Kai falls under an enchantment cast by the Elf King’s beautiful daughter. The only way for Lilia to break the spell and save Kai is to find a jewel of ancient power that lies somewhere in the North Kingdoms. Yet the jewel will not be easy to find. The castle where it is hidden has been overrun with princess hopefuls trying to pass a magical test that will determine the prince’s new bride. Lilia has only a few days to search every inch of the castle and find the jewel—or Kai will be lost to her forever.

Left with no family and discovered by a lowly sheepherder whom had recently been remarried, Lilia is very much out of her element. Much like Cinderella, instead of being accepted into this new family, the new wife raises her as a servant, a position to which she is quite terrible at. After the discovery that another addition to the family will end in her being “sold” Lilia decides it’s time to discover where she comes from and who she was meant to be. An adventure awaits not only her, but her companions – Kai, Karina and Ove their dog.

A True Princess must be many things, but in the case of Diane Zahler’s latest middle grade novel, it must be absolutely brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book and quite honestly read it cover to cover in a single sitting. I’m now rushing to purchase Zahler’s other book The Thirteenth Princess because I enjoyed the writing and story so much. One of the things that Zahler mentioned in her 20 Questions with Turkeybird Interview (posted earlier today), as well as on her own site is this…

15. Did you always want to be a writer?
Always. For as long as I can remember.

16. Why?
Well, that’s a great question! Maybe because when I was a kid I enjoyed reading so much that I wanted to give the same pleasure to other people. Maybe because I love the idea of creating different worlds filled with characters I’ve made up myself.

This is absolutely the case. The world in which Lilia lives is incredibly easy to get lost in and happens almost immediately. With the first place being the farm in which Lilia was raised and “served” on and then through the Bitra Forest and finally to the North Kingdoms. Though this may be a middle grade book I have no doubt that fantasy readers from nearly any reading level will love the world in which Lilia lives. There are no details left out, but it’s also easy enough for younger readers to delve into and fall in love with.

What was truly enjoyable about this story, outside of the world Zahler created, were the characters. Lilia was maybe a bit mature for a twelve year old, but I still think that even young readers will relate to her struggle to find herself. Her determination and courage are something that all children will be able to gain from, learning that it’s okay to take a chance on yourself and your friends. And for those who struggle to stand out from the crowd there is always Lilia’s good friend and “sister” Karina who stands by her through every bit of the adventure. These two were an inseparable duo and part of a larger cast that made this story so wonderful.

Overall A True Princess is a story I’d recommend to nearly everyone. It’s especially perfect for fantasy fans, this will be a fairytale re-telling they won’t want to miss. I absolutely adored every bit of Diane Zahler’s writing and feel strongly that this should definitely be shared with young readers. Definitely a favorite read of the year so far for me. Based loosely on the story of “The Princess and the Pea” readers of A True Princess won’t be able to sleep either, that is, until they’ve finished the story about a girl in search of her origin and destiny.


The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 7 and up. A fantasy adventure that readers young and old will fall in love with. Travel with Lilia as she discovers who she is and who she was always meant to be.

Make sure to stop by the other sites along the Blog Tour for A True Princess:
February 1: The Compulsive Reader
February 2: The Brain Lair
February 3: Galleysmith
February 4: Write for a Reader
February 5: The Cozy Reader
February 6: Libri Dilectio
February 7: Tales from the Rushmore Kid
February 8: Green Bean Teen Queen
February 8: Mother Daughter Book Club
February 9: There’s a Book
February 10: Mrs. V’s Reviews
February 11: The Cazzy Files
February 11: Sonder Books
February 12: BookScoops


Thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins, I have one hardback copy of A True Princess to giveaway to one reader of There’s A Book! Thank you so much!

Details: One winner will be chosen at random after the contest closes. You MUST fill out the form below, comments will not count as entries. Only one entry per household. Giveaway is open to US/Canada Residents only. The giveaway will run from February 09, 2011 until February 27, 2011 midnight EST.

Thank you so much to the author, Diane Zahler and publisher, HarperCollins, for providing a copy of his book for review and giveaway!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our affiliate relationship with IndieBound.

This giveaway has now closed. Thank you to all who entered! Please check back soon for more great giveaways!

17 Responses to Book Review and Giveaway: A True Princess by Diane Zahler

  1. This sounds beautiful and so sweet. What a great review and lovely cover.

  2. Gina says:

    First off, love the cover. The colors, the images, it all works perfectly together to capture the eye and the imagination. Sounds like the story does much of the same. Love the question you highlighted there….what wonderful reasons to become an author! If those feelings of readerly love come through in her writing, it has to be good. Great review!

  3. I’ve got an up and coming middle grade princess at my house – and I’m really enjoying collecting and reading books for her. Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy of this one!

  4. heidenkind says:

    This book sounds like so much fun! I hope I win. 🙂

  5. This sounds like a great middle school read especially since I spend time using fairy tales to teach elements of fiction and use retellings to get my kids to write creatively. Thanks for the wonderful review and the chance to win a copy of the book

  6. Love the cover and seeing a princess with a dog!

  7. […] Bean Teen Queen — Review February 8: Mother Daughter Book Club — Review February 9: There’s a Book — Author interview, review February 10: Mrs. V’s Reviews — Author interview, […]

  8. Adelina says:

    Sounds like a lovely story. Would love to read this! Thanks for the chance to win!

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