Princess of the Wild Sea by Megan Frazer Blakemore

Published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Summary:  Princess Harbor has a happy, if somewhat isolated, life on a small island surrounded by her mother, her magical aunts, and a slew of island residents who are training her in skills that may come in handy when she returns to the mainland.  When she was born, one of the aunts (who has disappeared) put a curse on her that at age 13 she would prick her finger, fall into a deep sleep, and bring danger to all her people.  Another aunt tried to temper the curse by saying a hero would come from another world to save them.  The story opens on Harbor’s twelfth birthday, and within a short time period, the events start to unfold.  Harbor pricks her finger, falls asleep for a few hours, and six-year-old Peter shows up from a strange place called Kansas.  Could he really be the hero?  And is danger imminent?  As Harbor learns more about her birth and family, she becomes increasingly confused, but also more certain about what she must do to save her people…and what being a hero really means.  256 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  This well-written fantasy does an admirable job of world-building and turns the story of Sleeping Beauty on its head, allowing both Harbor and Peter to get a taste of heroics and to realize that they don’t need magic to save the kingdom.  Could be a Newbery contender.

Cons:  I found the storyline and the large cast of characters a bit hard to keep track of.

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