The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale tells the tale of Princess Anidori's journey to discover her own worth away from her powerful and charismatic mother, the Queen of Kildenree. A betrayal occurs as Princess Anidori (Ani) travels to her neighbouring country, Bayern, for her betrothal to its prince. She finds herself alone in a strange land, constantly in danger.
For a while Ani is able to hide and she finds simple happiness in her new life, until she is forced to come out of hiding and confront her wrongdoers when it becomes a matter of imminent danger for both Kildenree and Bayern.
The Goose Girl is exciting and beautifully wrought. I was so caught up in its story that I cried Ani's tears and felt her fear with goosebumps upon my own skin.
This is one of those lovely YA books that could be read by any age.
It has an adorably bumbling and sweet love interest, heroic friends, a devious and self-centred villain and a protagonist who grows and develops as the story progresses.
The Goose Girl is the first book in The Books of Bayern series of four books. I rate the entire series incredibly highly. The second book, Enna Burning, takes quite a dark turn so I'd recommend it for older teenagers, but the third and fourth books, River Secrets and Forest Born are not quite as dark so could be read by all young adults.