Publication Date/Version: September 2009/Hardcover
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Middle Grade
Received From: Teens Read Too (Thank You!)
It's summer on Miramore, and that means one thing: The island will be full of princes in training. This year the rules have changed, and a "PIT" may even woo a servant girl - and whisk her away on his royal boat. Since that's the only way to leave Miramore, catching a pirate's fancy would let Gracepearl Coal chase her faraway destiny that haunts her dreams. If only her heart didn't belong to Mackree the stable boy! As the giggly girls of the island primp for the ball and the princes prepare for the tournament, Gracepearl is torn: Must she betray her true love to discover her destiny? And will she be charming enough to have that choice?
Gracepearl is a local at Miramore. Lately, she wants more than her simple island life. She's been having dreams about people who are in need of her help, but she can't leave the island. This year, however, she may have a chance to do just that. Princes have always come each summer to train at Miramore. But there's a twist this year: princes can now marry local girls. This gives Gracepearl an opportunity to leave the island. Can she leave her true love, an island boy named Mackree?
A Pearl Among Princes was wonderful! I expected fluff and romance, but there was so much more to the story. Gracepearl is a lovable character and easy to connect with. She's fun and level-headed. Her best friends are enjoyable too, each with their own separate personalities. And the princes - how fun! I loved hearing about each one, especially Prince Peter and Prince Richard. I was personally rooting for Peter, the pirate prince. Does it get better than that? I was thinking the looks of Orlando Bloom in Pirates (my abbreviation for Pirates of the Caribbean) and the attitude of Johnny Depp. So attractive! You'll have to read the book to find out who Grace ends up with, though.
The setting was quite quaint, one of those small towns that everyone wants to grow up in. It fit the story perfectly and worked as a great backdrop to the plot.
The overall plot was fun and somewhat serious. I thoroughly enjoyed the courtship scenes, as they were cute and darling! The boys were adorable. I also liked that the book had a more mysterious, serious side to it. Grace's friends are acting off, and it's never very clear as to why. Grace has also been having visions of people who need her help, but she's not sure what she can do. I enjoyed reading about Grace's presents, which were set up by her deceased mother. One is given to her every year, and each has a special meaning. The ending was completely unexpected, but it was great!
Overall: Wonderful story! It has adorable romances, a quaint island, and a touch of seriousness.
My Advice: I completely recommend this. Only to girls, however. Pick up a copy at your local bookstore. I know I'll be buying a finished copy for my shelves.
Cover: The cover is too girly for me, with the sparkles and puffy dress. The girl is pretty and looks similar to how I imagined Gracepearl, but there's something about her expression that creeps me out.