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Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner
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Nobody's Princess (2007)

by Esther Friesner

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6593014,584 (3.71)36
  1. 30
    Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Both are stories about a headstrong young woman determined to learn to fight like the boys. Nobody's Princess is an imagining of Helen of Troy's life as a teenager (more tenacity and brains, less vapid beauty) steeped in Greek mythology. Alanna is the first in a fantasy series about a young woman who disguises herself as a boy so that she can be trained as a knight. Both are great girl power reads.… (more)
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Young Reader Reaction: Amazing! This is a book that charms you and makes you want to laugh. I found it stunning and inspirational. The way Helen gets what she wants with all that determination and sass is admirable.

I feel like I know Helen, and am going through everything she goes through. The way it’s written just makes you feel like you’re there and you really can connect with Helen ... it’s an amazing feeling. One of my favorite scenes is when Ione spanks Helen to make it rain. The "rain" is Helen's tears. I laughed at the same time I felt sorry for Helen. It is amazing how Friesner manages to make something like that sound funny.

I can’t find any flaw in this book, other than the fact that it ends. This fun-filled, descriptive tale will keep you coming back for more. With admirable story-telling skill and a narration that makes you giggle, Nobody’s Princess is a must-read, for all ages and genders.

To read our full review, go to The Reading Tub®.
  TheReadingTub | Feb 2, 2014 |
I picked this book up when I saw it on the library shelves because of the title. I'm all about women, (or in this case a young woman), who fight the establishment and demand that the world treat them equally compared to the men around them.

The novel is about Helen of Troy before she was 'of Troy'. This is the story of when she was still of Sparta. She's a bit of a tomboy and more than anything she wants to control her own destiny. And does she ever, she goes to Mycenae and then all of a sudden she's thrown into one adventure after another.

This novel both is and isn't a feminism, 'women power' sorta book. It does say it's a teen book, but to me the writing as well as the plot seemed very simplistic and straightforward. So, I can see it being a book for older elementary schoolers and younger middle schoolers. That's part of the reason why the book is not as 'women power' as it could be, because, for most of the book Helen is a child.

I did wish that there'd been more with the character of Atalanta. She's one of my favorite mythical/historical characters from Greek lore and Friesner wrote her very, very well.

Still, even as it was a fast read and solidly written I don't think I'll read the next couple of books in Friesner's series, just a teensy bit too teen angst-y for me to read for my own pleasure. ( )
  DanieXJ | Aug 18, 2013 |
This book was really interesting! This is actually the SECOND book I've read that took place in Greece, although this one takes place very very very BC, and the other one ([b:Pompeii|880|Pompeii|Robert Harris|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1157748124s/880.jpg|268880]) took place in 79 AD. BUT, both of them were very cool!

This book is about Helen of Troy when she was a little girl (14 at the end of the book) and still Helen, the crown princess of Sparta. In this version of the story, rather than being a "literal" daughter of Zeus (like mythology says), she is 100% mortal. People in Helen's day are prone to exaggeration of epic proportions: some claim to be the son/daughter of such-and-such a god, while some claim to have defeated miscellaneous mythological creatures. The most exciting thing that ACTUALLY happens is fighting big snakes and wild boars... Cool, but not of the same magnitude as dragons, hydra, or Cerberus, you know? But one thing IS certain: the MEN are the ones who go on grand adventures and fight stuff—the women sit around making clothes—from raw wool to finished cloak. Helen HATES it. She wants to train to fight with her older brothers.... and she's pretty stubborn, so she does.

Anyway, she goes on adventures and meets a lot of really interesting people and does some pretty crazy things. It wasn't the most riveting plot the entire time, but it was just so interesting to be transported back to a time that is so different from our own, you know? I was reading about the Greek Bronze Age on Wikipedia and currency hadn't been invented yet. There was NO MONEY! Shocking! But yeah, really cool take on a great mythological person! She was interesting and accessible and generally cool!

Now if only it hadn't ended all cliffhangery-like... But in the next book, we'll (probably) get to meet Jason and go searching for the Golden Fleece! How cool is that?? ( )
  saraferrell | Apr 3, 2013 |
3 1/2 stars

Nobody’s Princess is a retelling of Helen of Sparta. This one is different in that Helen is a child when we first meet her and it only goes up to her early teens. The rest of the story is told in the second book, Nobody’s Prize.

I did enjoy the different take on the typical Helen of Sparta story, especially since it has been played out a bit. From an entertainment standpoint I thought the story was pretty good. It was a fast read, there was a bit of action thrown in and overall it was enjoyable. As a character Helen was on the strong independent side, however, sometimes she did get on my nerves with her stubbornness and attitude. What bothered me about the story was the dialogue and modern tone of it all. The reader must really suspend belief in order to enjoy the story. Although this bothered me and had me rolling my eyes in some parts I still enjoyed the story enough to want to read the second book.
( )
  Jaguar897 | Mar 31, 2013 |
meh. Not bad, I'd read more of the series, but not great either. I kept wanting more than it seemed to give. ( )
  Jami_Leigh | Mar 31, 2013 |
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This book is dedicated to the memory of Elissa Nicole Sullivan. Through her life, she gave an eternal gift of love, Through her art, an enduring legacy of beauty.
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Prologue: When I was four years old, my father, King Tyndareus of Sparta, dedicated a shrine to his favorite goddess, Aphrodite.
Part I, Chapter 1 (A Sacrifice to Artemis): I grew up with the gods all around me.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375875298, Paperback)

She is beautiful, she is a princess, and Aphrodite is her favorite goddess, but something in Helen of Sparta just itches for more out of life. Not one to count on the gods—or her looks—to take care of her, Helen sets out to get what she wants with steely determination and a sassy attitude. That same attitude makes Helen a few enemies—such as the self-proclaimed "son of Zeus" Theseus—but it also intrigues, charms, and amuses those who become her friends, from the famed huntress Atalanta to the young priestess who is the Oracle of Delphi.

In Nobody's Princess, author Esther Friesner deftly weaves together history and myth as she takes a new look at the girl who will become Helen of Troy. The resulting story offers up adventure, humor, and a fresh and engaging heroine you cannot help but root for.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Determined to fend for herself in a world where only men have real freedom, headstrong Helen, who will be called queen of Sparta and Helen of Troy one day, learns to fight, hunt, and ride horses while disguised as a boy, and goes on an adventure throughout the Mediterranean world.… (more)

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