Sarah's Stars

Esther Friesner. Nobody's Princess
Random House  $10.99  ISBN 978-0-375-87529-8  326 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 14

In that instant, a happy inspiration struck me with the force of one of Zeus's own thunderbolts: Why can't I? I found an unripe acorn lying on the ground beside me and flicked it at Milo.

"All right," I told him. "You win. You can stay with me." A look of utter relief spread across his face until I added, "But I win too. You're going to go with my brothers."

"But how can I do that if-?"

"And so am I."

Young Helen of Sparta is destined to be queen someday. But that doesn't mean she wants to be. All her life people have been telling her she's beautiful and pretty and that she'll grow up to be a gorgeous lady. But needlework and royal feasts are for Helen's twin sister, Clytemnestra. All Helen wants to do is climb trees and train in the art of fighting with her brothers. And then there's the other thing that takes Helen's breath away: horses. Too bad she doesn't know how to ride. But when Helen realizes that exploring and battling won't be handed to her on a platter, she decides to take things into her own hands by disguising herself as a boy and sneaking out to the training yards. Follow Helen through the years as she grows up and makes new friends and enemies, learns to take care of herself and explores some of the wonders of Ancient Greece.

Nobody's Princess was a wonderfully atmospheric book. The whole style and world of Ancient Greece is evident throughout the story and I happen to like Ancient Greece very much, so that was a bonus. As well, Helen's adventurous spirit is very refreshing. I was reminded a lot of Tamora Pierce's strong heroines. The author has clearly done her research when it comes to Greece mythology and culture. From fantastic legends, the powerful deities, the cities around Sparta and the descriptions of regular things like food and bedchambers, everything is very authentic and well written. Helen's tale is an exciting, action-packed story that will inspire and entertain readers ages 10 and up.

I give Esther Friesner's Nobody's Princess four and a half stars out of five.


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