Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
When I first saw the title of this book, I knew I had to read it. I love girly books and princesses, so of course I was going to love it. And I did. Alot. Although I knew I was going to love it when I first heard about it, this books surprised me with how good it actually was. It's not just a girly princess book. It's action, fantasy, adventure, all mixed with extremely good writing. I would recommend it to everyone - actually I do recommend it to everyone.
Update - My Husband read it also and loved it. He said though that for those that weren't as in touch with their feminine side as he is, the book might be a little too girly.
Miri has grown up listening to the sound of the quarry. Everyone on Mount Eskel begins working in the quarry at an early age, everyone that is except Miri. Miri longs to belong to the quarry community but is prevented from doing so by her father. When the king's messenger rides into town and declares that all girls between the ages of 12 and 17 will be required to leave town and attend a princess academy, Miri hopes that it will be her chance to reconnect with her former friends. But the Prince must choose his bride from the graduates, and as Miri increases her standing at the academy she also isolates herself further from her friends. In her isolation Miri begins to discover the mountains secrets, and finds a way to save her village from ruin. But when all is said and done, Miri must ultimately decide what she wants out of life - the mountain and the boy she has grown to love, or the prince and a dream of more.