The Low Down: Being the daughter of professors who study the medieval era isn’t the worst thing. Even though you’re named after someone who killed herself because Sir Lancelot didn’t return her love. Having professor parents mean that every seven years or so they get a sabbatical. They get to go do something for a year, anywhere, really, while still getting paid by the university. Great for them; horrible for Ellie. She is the new girl, no friends, no knowledge of the high school and its unwritten rules (though, honestly, those tend to be the same wherever you go). Then, once she hits her stride, she has to not only leave and return to where she came from, but she misses out on a whole year with her friends at home.
The professor they are renting from is on his own sabbatical, and being outside of Washington, D.C. means she doesn’t have to learn a foreign language (yes, it’s happened). And best of all, the house has a pool (though her mother is getting tired of her obsessively cleaning it and floating in it all day, every day). So Ellie starts running again, since she was a pretty good member of the track team at her last school. She wants to try out at her new school, so she finds a nearby park where she can train. That’s when she first sees him.
Ending up in a wooded part of the park, she comes across two boys and a girl, talking. The girl and one of the boys look like they are having a heavy conversation with the second boy. Who only has eyes for her as she runs by. Smiling, eyes twinkling, like he knows her. “Hey” is all he says.
Of course these three are at school with Ellie at Avalon High. She soon finds out that the boy who said hello is a senior named Will. He is popular for all the right reasons; athletic, fair, kind; all the students at Avalon seem to think he’s great. His best friend, Lance, is the boy who Ellie saw with Will in the park. Even though he’s a year ahead of Ellie, they have World Lit together. With Mr. Morton. Who’s a tyrant. And beautiful Jennifer, the girl from the park, is, of course, Will’s girlfriend.
But Will seems to be a little sad and melancholy. He likes to sit and think on a certain boulder at the park, lost in his thoughts. Lance and Jennifer are worried about him. Stranger still, Will is drawn to Ellie and seems to crave her companionship. And when Mr. Morton tells Ellie of Will’s connection to King Arthur and Camelot, and what will befall him, as it has done every generation throughout time, it’s almost too crazy not to believe. Can things end differently this time?
Best Thang ‘Bout It: The King Arthur connection is so wonderfully developed in a “believable” way. I know enough of the legend to be dangerous, but many of the details are not in my head. That may help, as true Arthurians may find some liberties that I wouldn’t notice. It’s not an overwrought piece, but a light, dramatic, contemporary tale that uses Camelot to its best advantage.
I’m Cranky Because: I do like manga, but I would have loved for the series to be continued as a regular book, too. I like to see what I want to see in my own head first before I see someone else’s interpretation of what I read.
The Bottom Line: Even if you’re not a member of the court, you’ll enjoy this.
Avalon High by Meg Cabot was published December 16, 2006 by HarperCollins. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library, so no one had a choice about whether it was reviewed.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Fantasy Romance
Ages: 12 and up
You Might Want to Know: Nothing of note.