Author of mostly young adult fantasy novels, notable for her consistent inclusion of strong female protagonists and unique, subtle magic systems. Her books straddle the line between High Fantasy and low, being small-scale, low magic, and sometimes gritty or violent, but also featuring unambiguously good and evil characters and traditional happy endings. They can be a little slow in the beginning, but they are always worth the effort.

Some of her works include:

  • The Goose Girl. Princess Anidori is traveling from her home kingdom to the kingdom of Bayern to marry the prince and hopefully bring peace to their two nations. Halfway there, she is betrayed by her company as they attempt to murder her and replace her with her lady in waiting, Selia. Ani escapes, but then must make her way to Bayern alone. Fearful of Selia and her guads, who still want her dead, Ani disguises herself as a city worker who tends to the geese as she plots a way to convince the king of her true identity. Three sequels feature the friends Ani meets among the city workers; the series is called Books of Bayern.
    • Enna Burning
    • River Secrets
    • Forest Born
  • Princess Academy. Miri lives in a village of miners on Mt. Eskel, far removed from the rest of the Kingdom of Danland. One day all the girls from the village are rounded up by an emissary from the king and sent to a finishing school -- the titular princess academy -- thanks to a prophecy that the prince's future wife will come from their region. Miri quickly rises to the top of her class and realizes she has a chance at becoming the princess, but struggles to choose between a better life, and leaving behind her home and the boy she's really falling in love with. A sincere and realistic take on I Just Want to Be Normal, and a Newbery Honor winner.
  • Book of a Thousand Days. Dashti, a maid, is locked up in a windowless tower with her Lady Saren as punishment for Saren's refusal to go through with the marriage her father arranged for her. Saren is betrothed to Lord Khasar, who terrifies her senseless for an unknown reason, but instead wishes to marry the benevolent Khan Tegus. The book is presented as Dashti's diary, documenting her encounters with Khasar and Tegus, her attempts to keep her and Saren alive and sane in the tower, and their adventure thereafter. Relatively short, but absolutely packed with story.

Adult books:

  • Austenland
  • The Actor and the Housewife

Graphic novels:

  • Rapunzel's Revenge and its sequel, Calamity Jack, written with her husband Dean Hale and illustrated by artist Nathan Hale (no relation).

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