Two Princesses of Bamarre-great YA literature

Book Review: The Two Princesses of Bamarre
by Gail Carson Levine.

This is one of my favorite books, a real treat to give to a young teen reader. The Two Princesses of the kingdom Bamarre, Meryl and Addie are as different in personality as they are different in appearance. Meryl has always, even in childhood, been the brave, adventurous sister. She memorizes and acts out the great epic poem of her country and looks forward to the day she can set out to rid her country of monsters, dragons and illness. Addie is the timid sister, afraid of shadows, afraid of spiders, clinging to Meryl-her protector, fearful of the day her sister will leave her for adventure.

Meryl's favorite childhood game is acting out the Gray Death adventure, a mysterious illness that kills hundreds of people in Bamarre every year. A mystery about how to catch it, and uncurable, their mother died of the illness when they were small. In Meryl's favorite game, her sister Addie is stricken with the illness, and Meryl goes forth on adventure, returning just in time with the unkown cure.

When Addie is 16, the unthinkable happens, Meryl is struck by the Gray Death. Addie hopes her father, a cowardly King- will fulfill the prophecy; "When cowards found courage and rain fell over all Bamarre, the cure would be found"
When the king comes home very quickly from his quest, Addie realizes she must go out and attempt to save her sister.

What follows is a wonderful adventure, filled with peril, love, wickedly intelligent dragons and courage found. She has a bit of help from a sorcerer and some magic gifts her mother left; luck, determination, and deep abiding love for her sister to keep her feet on the adventure thrust upon her.

It is a beautiful story, filled with suspense, and not quite the ending you were expecting.
Not a bad ending, mind you- I would have thrown the book across the room for a bad ending...but it wasn't what I expected..which is good sometimes; formula endings are a bit too-easy, mostly.

For a story hard to put-down, and for a story to inspire your girl to be the hero in her own life, The Two Princesses of Bamarre will truly satisfy.