Mount Eskel is a place where only the strong survive. 'Skinnier than a lowlander's arm' is one of the stock phrases Eskel-ites say, since few know of the power and strength it takes to mine linder, the stone from which all castles and great houses are built in the lowlands, the stone which stays polished and true even after decades. Miri, named after a flower that grows among the linder, worries that she, too, is as useless as a lowlander. Her father will not allow her to work in the mines, and she fears that even her best friend, Peder, doesn't know her true value. It is only when 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 - that Miri feels suddenly that maybe she has something to offer.
She would be willing to marry the prince if only to bring her father and sister a better home, and her village a better life, even though she would dreadfully miss Peder and Esa and the others. But it's not as easy as it could be. Tradition states that all eligible girls must attend a Princess Academy to make themselves worthy of marrying the prince. The makeshift mountain academy Miri attends is nothing like she thought it would be. There's jealousy and competition, and a truly evil headmistress who locks her in a closet and forgets about her. But Miri has a secret which she holds to herself -- the secret of the linder, which causes the miners to be able to speak to each other through the rock. That secret might just change everything.
A perfectly wonderful happily-ever-after fairytale, Princess Academy is a perfect curl-up-and-dream treat.