By Jennifer A. Nielsen
Scholastic Press, $17.99, 352 pages
Since leaving his family behind some years before, Sage has lived hand to mouth, hopping between orphanages and stealing for extra food. When he and a few other boys his age are taken from their orphanages by a man who says he has a plan for them, Sage doesn’t know what to expect. But after the three arrive at Conner’s grand home, the nobleman’s scheme slowly becomes clear—and it doesn’t bode well for any of them. The teens will have to learn in two weeks’ time to impersonate the kingdom’s lost prince. Whoever is chosen will have to play by Conner’s rules permanently, and the two who are not chosen will certainly be killed.
Sage has to figure out how to play along, despite his deficiencies, particularly his strong tendency toward stubbornness. The other two youths have their own plots to stay alive as well. Every page of The False Prince is filled with danger or the promise of danger, and readers can’t help but keep turning the pages to find out what happens not only to Sage but to his two companions, as powerful men scheme to take over a kingdom. This book should captivate young and older readers alike.
Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim