Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Book Review: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Whitney Finalist)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Enjoyment Rating: *****
This book would be rated: PG
With the bodies of the king, queen and crown prince all hidden in basement of the palace and the other prince missing at sea for the last four years, Conner, a nobleman, has an idea. He will buy several boys from orphanages and train them to impersonate the young prince. Then he will install himself as the puppetmaster. One of the boys is a weakling, another is a bully, another a kiss-up. And then there's Sage, who is defiant and angry and would rather do just about anything (including running away) rather than vie for the role of becoming the prince.
I've read four of the five books in the middle grade category so far, and three of them are all pretty good. But The False Prince is fantastic. I found myself struggling with reading quickly (because the story was engrossing) but also wanting to read slowly enough that I didn't miss any of Nielsen's details. Sage is an engaging character, and Nielsen throws in twists and turns in the plot that actually made me gasp. So far, I think this is not just the best middle grade book I've read for the Whitneys, but really the best book I've read for the Whitneys. My only quibble is that I think the book feels more like a YA than a middle grade, especially since the protagonist is a young teen.