Author: Heather Dixon
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pub Date: April 2011
Reviewed from: copy I bought for myself
Grades 7 and up
Earlier this evening (in a review that won't be published for a few months because it was an ARC and I don't want to be too cruel in my booktalks) I created a new genre. Princesses who get dirty. You know the type. These are those sorts of princesses. And there are 12 of them. Twelve! Twelve kick-ass princesses who are not afraid to get dirty. And being royalty they get to refer to the time they all fell asleep outside while spying on their parent's royal ball and then attacked the Prime Minister with snowballs as "the Great Rosebush and Snowball scandal." I mean seriously. Don't you want to sit down and spend a few hundred pages with these princesses?
Their mother's pregnancy has been very hard but when she dies giving birth to princess number 12 it is a shock to all of them. More of a shock is their father's subsequent harshness. He stops eating dinner with them, stops talking to them, and even (seemingly) rushes off to war just to get away from them! Their only happiness comes from dancing but since custom dictates they must be in full morning for a year, they can't even do that!
And then they discover a secret magical room in the castle and a man named Keeper who gives them a secret spot to dance. But Keeper isn't telling them much about him. Is he to be trusted? Or is he leading the girls on a path unimaginable?
Give this book to: Fans of fairy tale retellings (the 12 dancing princesses, natch), lovers of formal dancing, readers who want their romance (there are 3 complete and satisfying romances hidden inside this book) with a side of dashing and adventure, and fans of (obvs) princesses who are not afraid to get dirty.