The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen is about an orphan named Sage who survives by trickery and theft on the streets of the kingdom's capital city. But he is captured himself one day, and drawn into a dangerous and treacherous plot. I don't want to reveal too much of the plot here, but I will say that the book reminded me strongly of Megan Whalen Turner, in all good ways. Sage is a smart-mouthed kid who has a heart. When others mistreat him, he seems to see more deeply to the truth. And like The Thief, the story is told in first person, which has the intended effect of making it feel intimate and honest, while at the same time somehow disguising information or making light of it and then revealing the truth at the end in a bravado climax that made perfect sense. I really fell in love with the character of Sage, and though there was a moment where the plot seemed to take the obvious turn, I ended up not caring because it was so well done that I forgot about the plot twist and became caught up in the character development. I say to students a lot that they make a mistake in thinking that it's the most original story that is going to sell. Being original is not nearly so important as being simply a good writer, and that is what Jen Nielsen is.
metteharrison - Monday Book Recs--Nielsen