Project Read Your Classroom Shelves // Tennyson & Princess Academy

Over my three short years of teaching and being a poor newly wed couple, building up a classroom library has been a little tricky. I started with my own personal YA books. Then, I hit free book giveaways from different groups: schools, friends, sales. Then, I went to public library $1 book sales. Because of this, I have only read 1/3 of the books on my classroom shelf.

So, I decided that since I will be home all summer (and thereafter), I will actually read these YA novels. I am doing this for a few reasons:

1) I love YA novels
2) It’ll help enhance my imagination and writing skills
3) Whenever I do go back to teaching, I can better advise my students on which books they should read on my shelves.

spend the summer reading the books that you have on your classroom shelves for your students to read. Do mini reviews on them.

Every Friday, until I finish all of these books in the picture above, I will have mini-reviews. This past week, (actually last Friday-Monday), I read two books:
1) The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
2) Tennyson by Lesley M.M. Blume

The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

I’ve wanted to read this book since I was a high schooler, and I don’t know why I ever did! But, I’m glad I did. It is about a kingdom where the royal priests denote the city that the heir’s future spouse would be found. This particular city happened to be in a small, uneducated mountain territory. Well, every girl 12-17 is eligible, but they had to be trained to be worthy of a future King’s wife. So, representatives from the capital are brought to create a “princess academy.” Miri is the protagonist. She is a small 14 year old who is the only one in the village who doesn’t work in the quarry for a reason unknown to her. The village quarries linder–a marble-like stone that has special “memory-speaking” abilities that Miri happens upon while at the Academy.

The way it was written was very simple, yet elegant. I was captured and kept reading. I loved the character of Miri–she is tiny, weak, but determined, and very sarcastic. The thoughts of Miri flowed wonderfully with the plot and I loved the development of the quarry-speak of Linder. The only part I didn’t like was how fast the prince chose his future bride and who it turned out to be and why. That could’ve been better developed.

But, I won’t spoil any more for you!

Tennyson by Lesley M.M. Blume

I found this book at a library $1 book sale. What caught me was the cover and title combo. I assume that the girl on the cover was Tennyson. And I thought to myself, I kind of like that for a girl’s name now, even if Justin doesn’t at all. But, look at that cover! Doesn’t it just pull you in?!?

The book takes place during the 1930’s. Eleven year old Tennyson and her eight year old sister, Hattie, live in a bayou on the border of Mississippi and Louisiana with their dad and their mom who yearns to be a famous writer. In the first two pages, the family realizes their mom has disappeared. So, dad leaves the girls with his old-Southern-plantation-old-money family while he searches for his wife. His sister still lives in the decrepit plantation house on the edge of the Mississippi. Tennyson uses the dreams she begins to have of the tragic family past during the Civil War to write a story to grab her mom’s attention to return.

I loved the book, the character of Tennyson, the ghost dreams, the secrecy, even the reason her mom left–which I would never ever do! But, there were two things I didn’t like. The first was the publisher–his character was a little ridiculous and bordered on the dime-comedic. It didn’t fit in the more Southern Gothic novel. The second was the end–it just seemed to cut off, the story half-unfinished. I get the point why the author decided to do that, to kind of reflect on Tennyson’s story that she decided not to finish, but I still didn’t like it. It seemed almost to have no resolution.

Have you read either of these books? If so, what did you like/dislike about them? Would you like to read either of these, and why?

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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.


  1. What a wonderful idea!! I love it 🙂 And I loved Princess Academy when I read it. And based on your review of Tennyson I am going to have to add that to my list. I am currently working my way through The School for Good and Evil and it was wonderful! I love YA and Children books!

  2. I never had any desire to read the Princess Academy… Haha but I'm glad you liked it! Tennyson sounds interesting! I might have to pick that up. PS I see that Wicked is in your pile… I really like that book but it is not YA at all, just FYI 🙂 It has some explicit-ish sex scenes, acts of terrorism and just is very political in general. Just so you know!

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