Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Miri just wants to work in the quarry, but her dad won't let her. In a strange turn of events, the prince of the country her village supposedly belongs to, has to marry a girl from her village. In order to make sure the girl is up to the job of being a princess, an academy is established.
Miri may be considered a little too perfect although her insecurities are endearing and her small triumphs are heartening. This book is not exactly special in the way the characters are but it's written nicely and the interactions are mostly believable.
The only point where I felt the story was incomplete was at the end. One of the character's twists requires somewhat of a suspension of belief although it could be believable because the story doesn't go into the daily lives of nobles very much.
This is definitely a nice stand alone YA novel. It deserves the Newberry Honor.