Title: Avalon High
Author: Meg Cabot
Release: December 27, 2005
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.My biggest mistake in reading Avalon High was that I read a different book my Meg Cabot, Jinx, immediately beforehand. The similarities in plot structure and techniques were so apparent to me that at times I felt as though I was experiencing the same novel twice, with changes in characters' names and locations. Nonetheless, I did enjoy both books and can see myself revisiting Meg Cabot's works in the future.
I believe that I would have enjoyed Avalon High much more had I been familiar with Arthurian legend beforehand. The references to Camelot and King Arthur, etc that were constantly included in Avalon High often went over my head. However, as Meg Cabot surely knows, many of Avalon High's readers will be unfamiliar with the lore as well. Due to this, Avalon High flows smoothly as its own tale. Primarily focused on stereotypical high school drama, the relevance of the Arthurian legends and their connection to the story at hand come almost as an afterthought. This was disappointing to me, as I was expecting more of a fantastical story rather than a contemporary.
Meg Cabot certainly understands how to craft an entertaining story. With both Jinx and Avalon High, I felt compelled to continue reading until I reached the end, despite any qualms I had with the stories. I do feel as though the Meg Cabot books I have so far experienced were intended for a different audience than myself. Although I often enjoy middle grade novels, I felt as though Jinx and Avalon High were written for very young teens, and I felt like I was in an awkward position as a reader.
The characters in Avalon High were likable and relatable, certainly, however I felt as though many of them were quite cookie-cutter. Too stereotypical, and too fitting to what one would expect them to be. Ellie, the protagonist, carried the story well. I felt as though she was a bit too naive at times, however, which inspired annoyance from myself. Ellie's attraction to Will certainly seems justified, as he is kind and loyal throughout the book. Beyond that, the other characters didn't really earn any distinction in my mind apart from the fact that they fit their roles well.
Although things were not always explained well, and I didn't understand a lot of references made throughout the story, Avalon High was fun. A nice, easy summer read with some epic moments. It's definitely for a younger crowd, however, and I wish I had known that before reading it. Meg Cabot has managed to win me over with Jinx and Avalon High. Although neither books are favorites of mine, they entertained me and have solidified my decision to return to Meg Cabot's works in the future.