Avalon High by Meg Cabot
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Contemporary; Paranormal; Young Adult
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Dandelion
Avalon High, I was starting to think, might not be so bad after all.
Maybe it’s not where Ellie wants to be, but if you have to start at a new school, Avalon High is typical enough: There’s Lance, the jock. Jennifer, the cheerleader. And Will, senior class president, quarterback, and all-around good guy.
But not everyone at Avalon High is who they appear to be…not even, as Ellie is about to discover, herself. As a bizarre drama begins to unfold, Ellie has to wonder, what part does she play in all this? Do the coincidences she’s piecing together really mean – as in King Arthur’s court – that tragedy is fast approaching for her new friends?
Ellie doesn’t know if she can do anything to stop the coming trouble. But somehow, she knows she has to try.
With this captivating, fast-paced story that brings the King Arthur legends into the 21st century, New York Times best-selling author Meg Cabot shows why she’s become the queen of young adult fiction. At Avalon High, narrator Ellie’s new school, the central characters find themselves embroiled in more than just high school classes and high school crushes. The characterization here is superb, the plot clever and believable, and the weaving in of historic tale splendid.
We can identify with Ellie, the tall gawky new girl; we’ve all known Lance and Jennifer, the star football player and the beautiful but uncertain cheerleader; we can admire Will, the golden boy of the school who’s older than his years and always does the right thing; and rumpled, lovable English teachers like Mr. Morton pop up in schools across the country. As we, along with Ellie, discover the parallels between these characters and Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, and more, the pace of this story moves along at lightning speed. At the same time, Ms. Cabot does an excellent job of retelling the medieval legends for anyone who’s unfamiliar. Even better, by the time this story is through, you may very well find yourself doing some more reading up on these fascinating historical figures!
As the first-person narrator, Ellie is the perfect blend of typical teen angst and independent young woman. Thanks to her parents, both professors of medieval studies, she’s not only well-read, but she’s highly insightful – which is a good thing, since hottie A. William Wagner just may be the modern reincarnation of King Arthur, and it’s up to Ellie to save him. The friendship-turned-romance between Will and Ellie is sweet and endearing, and readers will root for these two to triumph over the multiple obstacles in their way.
With a great plot twist late in the book, where Ellie discovers that even she is not exactly who she thought she was (she’s way stronger, and she single-handedly saves the day!), Avalon High wraps up the King Arthur myth in a completely satisfying manner and provides a charming happy ever after for everyone involved.
One word of warning: this young adult author captures a typical teenage girl’s voice perfectly, which means that for some readers, the Oh-my-God-every-moment-of-high-school-life-is-so-traumatic might grow old. Other than that, however, Avalon High is a fun, fast read for young and adult readers alike. I recommend it highly!