The Goose Girl
If you've ever come across Grimms' Fairy Tales, then you might already know the story about a goose girl. Not familiar with it? No worries—this just means you're in for a few more surprises than readers who are. Lucky you, right? But even if you have read the Grimm brothers' tale, don't go thinking you should just skip over Shannon Hale's 2003 novel, The Goose Girl—this book takes the original short story and really runs with it.
This is the story of a reluctant princess who can speak to animals, but gets overtaken by her lady-in-waiting and forced into hiding as a goose girl in a far off kingdom. Out of luck and her element, our main girl—Ani—has a whole lot to figure out, and at the ripe old age of sixteen, she's got to do so all by herself. It's a process, for sure, but along the way Ani learns to make peace with who she is, and comes to see the world around her a lot more clearly.
Sounds like a pretty fun read, doesn't it? And we're not the only ones who think so. This book has received all kinds of praise, including winning a Josette Frank Award, being named an ALA Popular Paperback, and becoming a Beehive Award finalist—to name just a few.
Part of The Goose Girl's success is due to the fact that this book hangs out in tried and true territory—those Grimm brothers have been making an impression on readers for generations—but its popularity is ultimately thanks to the flair Hale brings to this story about a goose-loving, horse-talking princess who slums it for a while after her identity is stolen.
So if you're interested in visiting the world of magic and fairy-tales again, we suggest you grab a copy of the book. At least now you won't have to wait for bedtime to read it like you did when you were a kid.
Why Should I Care?
Chances are decent that at some point you've asked yourself one of these big, million dollar questions:
- Who am I?
- Where do I fit in?
- Who are my real friends?
- Why are my parents always on my case?
We know what it's like to try to figure out who you are and what kind of person you want to be in the world, especially when you're in middle and high school. And when it comes down to it, The Goose Girl isn’t a story about a princess nearly so much as it's a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl facing these very same questions.
While most of us have no idea what it's like to be a princess who's expected to stop talking to animals and get on with ruling the country, we all know what it's like to negotiate the pitfalls of adolescence and the pressures of outside scrutiny (whether it's under the watchful eye of hopeful parents, strict teachers, coaches, or peers)—and Princess Ani knows exactly what this feels like too.
She might be a crown princess with the keys to a kingdom, but she's really just like all of us. Instead of trying to figure out who she wants to be while still pleasing her parents though, Ani's got an entire kingdom watching her to boot. And you thought your parents were rough.