A True Princess by Diane Zahler
Target audience: Age 8-12
Lilia is on a quest to the North to find her true family. She is joined by her best friend, Kai, his sister Karina and their dog Ove. On the way they get lost in the perilous Bitra forest, the land of the Elf-King where Kai is placed under an enchantment. Lilia must find a precious jeweled clasp hidden somewhere in the North Kingdom in return for her friend's freedom. But finding the jewel places her in the middle of a contest for Prince Tycho's hand in marriage. Based on The Princess and the Pea, Zahler's graceful storytelling brings this time honored tale to life. Each chapter heading denotes a rule from the prince's handbook on how to be a true princess. Lilia possesses strength, tenacity and resourcefulness, qualities which incidentally are not valued in the true princess handbook. This is a delightfully light and entertaining story blending romance and adventure. It is bound to be a hit with readers of Gail Carson Levine and Shannon Hale.