The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Biblio Links once again welcomes author Jennifer Nielsen on the eve of the release of her highly anticipated novel The False Prince!

From Goodreads: In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

Jen Nielsen: Thanks for hosting me, Natalie!

Biblio Links: My pleasure! My students have gobbled up your Underworld Chronicles series, and can’t wait to get ahold of The False Prince! Here’s my first question:

A student walks into my library and I think, “That kid needs a copy of The False Prince. Who is this kid?

Jen Nielsen: I think librarians are going to find there’s a wide readership for The False Prince. It should appeal to both boys and girls from about age 10 and up.

But your question is different – who might need a copy of this book. Definitely this is a great series for reluctant readers, but I’m going to suggest another child who might benefit from this book.

Kids tend to read themselves into stories they love. Because of that, they are looking for heroes with whom they can identify, someone who can make them believe they are greater and more powerful than they may generally feel. We all want to think of ourselves this way, but occasionally an educator might know of a child who needs to see himself as something more than ordinary. I hope he or she will find such a hero in Sage.

I’ve already received several emails from kids who tell me how they’re similar to Sage or one of the other characters, and I love that. If they can find themselves in a book, then they’re going to want to read more of it, and that’s always a great thing!

Biblio Links: Agreed! If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see?

Jen Nielsen: The False Prince would make for a great classroom read (In fact, I know of some schools who have already purchased classroom sets through Scholastic’s book clubs and are finding their greatest challenge is keeping the kids from reading ahead). It should appeal to both boys and girls, and has enough depth for those who need to be challenged, but enough wit, twists, and action for those who might not be natural readers.

I know of a great classroom activity that challenges each student to read a book of their choice and write a paper on the strengths and weaknesses of their book’s hero. Then the students are divided into groups and the “battle” begins. The teacher can suggest specific tests for the hero and, using evidence from the book, each group member gets to defend to their peers why they have the superior hero in accomplishing that task. I don’t know how Sage would fare against other characters, but I’d love to see how it unfolds. If any class ever tries this, whether THE FALSE PRINCE is included or not, please let me know!

Another possibility I would love to see is this book used for character analysis, as students are taught to compare and contrast some of the more prominent characters against each other. This might be a comparison of the four orphans who are compelled into this contest, the similarities and differences between Sage and Conner, or the comparative traits of the princess and the kitchen girl.

Biblio Links: Lots to love with this book, Jen! Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?

Jen Nielsen: Please feel free to visit my website at, or you can  “like” the series by searching for The False Prince on Facebook, and my Twitter handle is @nielsenwriter.

I will also be writing the sixth book of THE INFINITY RING series (Scholastic), with Book 1 launching in September 2012 and have a younger middle grade fantasy series called The Underworld Chronicles that begins with ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR (Sourcebooks).

Biblio Links: Thanks for stopping by, Jen!

~The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN-10: 0545284139

ISBN-13: 978-0545284134

Number of Pages: 352

Interest Level: Ages 10 and up

Click here for  reviews.


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