High on the side of rocky Mount Eskel, far from the valleys where gardens are green and lush, where lowlanders make laws, Miri’s family has lived forever, pounding a living from the stone of the mountain itself. For as long as she can remember, Miri has dreamed of working alongside the other villagers in the quarries of her beloved mountainside. But Miri has never been allowed to work there, perhaps, she thinks, because she is so small.
Then word comes from the valley that the king's priests have divined Mount Eskel to be the home of the prince’s bride-to-be – the next princess. The prince himself will travel to the village to choose her, but first all eligible girls must attend a makeshift mountain academy to prepare themselves for royal lowlander life.
At the school, Miri soon finds herself confronted by bitter competition among the girls and her own conflicting desires to be chosen by the prince. Yet when danger comes to the academy and threatens all their lives, it is Miri, named for a tiny mountain flower, who must find a way to save her classmates – and the one chance to leave the mountain each of them is determined to secure as her own.
From acclaimed author Shannon Hale comes the Newbery Honor-winning novel about would-be princesses and one small but determined girl's destiny.