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But not everybody at Avalon High is who they appear to be ... not even, as new student Ellie is about to discover, herself. What part does she play in the drama that is ...
But not everybody at Avalon High is who they appear to be ... not even, as new student Ellie is about to discover, herself. What part does she play in the drama that is unfolding? What if the bizarre chain of events and coincidences she has pieced together means -- as with the court of King Arthur -- tragedy is fast approaching Avalon High?
Worst of all, what if there's nothing she can do about it?
"You are so lucky."
Trust my best friend Nancy to see things that way. Nancy is what you would call an optimist.
Not that I'm a pessimist, or anything. I'm just ... practical. At least according to Nancy.
Apparently, I'm also lucky.
"Lucky?" I echoed into the phone. "In what way am I lucky?"
"Oh, you know," Nancy said. "You get to start over. In a whole new school. Where no one knows you. You can be whoever you want to be. You can give yourself a total personality makeover, and there won't be anyone around to be all, 'Who do you think you're kidding, Ellie Harrison? I remember when you ate paste in first grade.'"
"I never thought of it that way," I said. Because I hadn't. "Anyway, you were the one who ate paste."
"You know what I mean." Nancy sighed. "Well. Good luck. With school and everything."
"Yeah," I said, sensing even over the thousand-mile difference between us, that, it was time to hang up. "Bye."
"Bye," Nancy said. Then added, "You're so lucky."
Really, up until Nancy said this, I hadn't thought there was anything lucky about my situation at all. Except maybe the fact that there's a pool in the backyard of our new house. We never had a pool of our own. Before, if Nancy and I wanted to go to the pool, we had to get on our bikes and ride five miles - mostly uphill - to Como Park.
I have to say, when my parents broke the news about the sabbatical, the fact that they were quick to add, "And we're renting a house with a pool!" was the only thing that kept down the vomit that started coming up in my throat. If you are a child of professors, sabbatical is probably about the dirtiest word in your own personal vocabulary. Every seven years, most professors get offered one - basically a yearlong vacation, so they can recharge and try to write and publish a book.
Professors love sabbaticals.
Their kids hate them.
Because would you really want to uproot and leave all your friends, make all new friends at a whole new school and just be getting to think, "Okay, this isn't so bad," only to have to uproot yourself again a year later and go back where you came from?
No. Not if you're sane, anyway.
At least this sabbatical isn't as bad as the last one, which was in Germany. Not that there's anything wrong with Germany. I still exchange e-mails with Anne-Katrin, the girl I shared a desk with in the weird German school I went to there.
But come on. I had to learn a whole other language!
At least with this one, we're still in America. And okay, we're outside Washington, D.C., which isn't like the rest of America. But everyone here speaks English. So far.
And there's a pool.
Having your own pool is a lot of responsibility, it turns out. I mean, every morning you have to check the filters and make sure they aren't all jammed up with leaves or dead moles. There's almost always a frog or two in ours. Usually, if I get out there early enough, they're still alive. So then I have to conduct a frog rescue expedition.
The only way you can rescue the frogs is to reach down into the water to pull the filter basket out, so I've ended up touching all sorts of really gross stuff that floats in there, like dead beetles and newts and, a few times, drowned mice. Once there was a snake. It was still alive. I pretty much draw the line at touching anything that is capable of sending paralyzing streams of poison into my veins, so I yelled to my parents that there was a snake in the filter basket.
My dad is the one who yelled back, "So? What do you want me to do about it?"
"Get it out," I said.
"No way," my dad said. "I'm not touching any snake."
My parents aren't like other parents. For one thing, other people's parents actually leave the house to go to work. Some of them are gone for as many as forty-five hours a week, I've heard.
Not mine. Mine are home all the time. They never leave! They're always in their at-home offices, writing or reading. Practically the only time they come out of their offices is to watch Jeopardy! and then they yell out the answers at each other.
No one else's parents know all the answers to Jeopardy! or yell them out if they do. I know, I've been to Nancy's house and seen the evidence for myself. Her parents watch Entertainment Tonight after dinner, like normal people.
I don't know any of the answers on Jeopardy! That's why I sort of hate that show.
My dad grew up in the Bronx, where there aren't any snakes. He completely hates nature. He totally ignores our cat, Tig. Which of course means that Tig is crazy about him.
And if my dad sees a spider, he screams like a girl. Then my mom, who grew up on a ranch in Montana and has no patience for spiders or my dad's screaming, will come in and kill it, even though I've told her a million times that spiders are extremely beneficial to the environment.
Of course, I knew better than to tell my mom about the snake in the pool filter, because she'd probably have come out and snapped its head clean off right in front of me. In the end, I found a forked branch, and pulled it out that way. I let it go in the woodsy area behind the house we're renting. Even though the snake didn't turn out to be that scary once I finally got the guts to save it, I kind of hope it doesn't come back.
Excerpted from Avalon High by Meg Cabot Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted April 17, 2010
I Also Recommend:
Okay, I will start off by saying this isn't my first Meg Cabot book. I knew what I was getting into. I knew I wasn't about to engage in literary gold when I opened this book. Anybody who would expect that needs a reality check because....well, look at the cover. It's pink and purple for crying out loud.
This book was very quick and entertaining. It's fluffy, girly brain candy. I always have trouble rating books like these because my wanna-be intelligent self is like "you're too good for these books, go read Chaucer instead", while my teenage girl self enjoys them. Alas I am a conflicted soul.
I went into this all haughty, believing it to be all too predictable, and it was for the most part. Meg Cabot leaves little hints before hand so you know what's going to happen before the narrator does and then repeats it often enough for the especially dense. But then came the twist....those things always make me feel like an a-hole.
The narrator is likeable enough. I didn't want to drown her, which is something special considering most of the heroines in YA nowadays. But then she committed the Ultimate Offense in my mind- claiming some guy is your soulmate after two days. Ugh, I HATE characters like that, especially when they are in high school. Hey, the guy who sits next to me in math class is pretty hot, but that doesn't mean I want to spend eternity with him. I guess I let it slide this time because these characters are reincarnated and have know each other for centuries, which is plenty of time to get to know someone (but do we ever really know someone hmmm?).
Some of the plot points were pretty ridiculous and had me holding back chuckles of disbelief. I know...you guys are probably like "Well, it is a fantasy set in highschool, what did you expect?". To that I say IT'S MY REVIEW AND I GET TO COMPLAIN IF I WANT TO.
The characters weren't as fleshed out as they could have been. Particularly Lance. Poor Lance, he is practically brushed aside in this retelling. And did Jennifer HAVE to be a cheerleader? (guess what color her hair was). I also would have liked to see some other Arthurains characters and more (dare I say it) education. This book barely touches the surface of the tale it's based on. And for those who enjoyed the book and want to read more Arthurian fiction- whilst still be entertained- I recommend The Once and Future King
The writing is nothing challenging and is meant to be read quickly. No moments of beauty here. Just straight-to-the-point-prose with the occasional dash of humor.
I have to give it up to Meg Cabot. She sure knows how to get people to read her books. I knew I wasn't going to love this book before I went into it, and yet I read it anyway. God help her fans.
10 out of 15 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
This book was a little hard to get into.. but after page 6 your good! This book has something for everyone. Thrillers, romance, edginess, joy, and everyhting else a person can imagine. The characters are great and so is the storyline. Not confusing at all. It took me 1 day and a half to finish the book. It was that good! Highly recomended to all!
7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 27, 2012
I read this is 6th grade and I LOVED THE BOOK!!! I recomened this to anyone who likes fantasy or mystery or drama or a love story!!! :) READ IT!!! :)
6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 5, 2009
Posted June 13, 2012
Posted March 2, 2012
Posted October 26, 2008
You don't have to know and enjoy the legend of King Arthur to fully appreciate AVALON HIGH, but it probably helps. Meg Cabot has taken the legend of Arthur and the main people in his lives--Merlin, the magician and guardian of young Arthur; the Lady of the Lake, who gave Arthur his magical sword, Excalibur; Guinevere, Arthur's wife and Queen; his most esteemed knight, Sir Lancelot; Mordred, Arthur's half-brother; and the elusive Elaine of Astolat, the Lady of Shalott--and found them modern-day counterparts within the halls of Avalon High School just outside of Washington, D.C. <BR/><BR/>Ellie Harrison isn't thrilled with leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving to a new state, and starting a new school, while her parents are on sabbatical. Both her mom and dad are medievalists and Professors, and her father has dragged the family closer to D.C., where he can study up-close-and-personal the sword he's researching. <BR/><BR/>And then Ellie meets Will, the most interesting and good-looking boy she's ever seen. Sure, he has a girlfriend, the very lovely Jennifer, so she resigns herself to just being his friend. But as time goes on, Ellie realizes that there are some very strange similarities between life at Avalon High and the legend of King Arthur. The events that unfold, such as one of the teachers, Mr. Morton, going a little batty, and Will's girlfriend, Jennifer, being secretly in love with his best friend, Lance, start to add up to one bizarre scenario--could Will be the reincarnation of King Arthur, and could something really bad be working its way towards the halls of Avalon High? <BR/><BR/>I truly enjoyed AVALON HIGH, but Ms. Cabot's customary humor was strangely missing from the story. Although there are a few slightly humorous spots in the book, the laugh-out-loud wit and sarcasm from her previous releases is strangely absent. Overall, though, lovers of Athurian history or books about good versus evil will thoroughly enjoy this latest release.
3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 4, 2012
This book is so amazing. I was working on Medieval Time Periods and let me tell you this actually got me an A+ on my report for my middle school, yet it was also quite entertaining.
Ellie is a typical teenager. Spunky and kind. When she sees Will, she is so excited to see him until she finds out he's a jock and has a cheerleader girlfriend, Jennifer. Now it is hard not be giving a summary for this amazing story, so let's cut to the chase.
This story resembles Camelot adventures tying into place. Ellie trys to figure it out with the help of a nerd, her parents, and her betraying teacher.
Well you'll have to read this lovely book to find out what happens.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 18, 2013
Posted June 29, 2012
The book and the movie were awesome. I did not like that Ellie took a backseat, unlike the movie.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 18, 2012
Posted March 25, 2012
I read this book for the 1st time in like 5th grade, and I have loved it ever since. I usually read it every summer, and now that I am about to graduate high school, it is still one of my favorite books. Don't even bother watching the Disney movie of this book, it is absolutely no good and doesnt do the book justice. Plus none of the characters are as described in the book, and they added some and left out others. I really wish it would get turned into a real movie. I would be 1st in line. This book got me interested in Arthurian times and now Tennyson is my absolutely favorite poet. I recomend this book to anybody. Old or young, it is a great story to keep you entertained for a quick read.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 19, 2012
Posted January 30, 2012
Posted January 21, 2012
I just want u to know that i love meg cabot she is like my faverite author and this book is about a girl named ellie and how she moved to avalon high and she meets will and they are trying to find who is the reunitement of king author i love this book and highly recommend it
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 16, 2012
Posted January 12, 2012
Posted November 27, 2010
I love this book. I have always loved the King Author storyline. It's a great read. I say if you didn't like the movie, give the book a try. It's a million times better than the (stupid) movie.
1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 5, 2009
Cabot, M. (2006). Avalon High. New York: Harper Teen.
Ellie Harrison, along with her two parents who are university professors, moves to Annapolis for the duration of their sabbaticals. Ellie must deal with attending a new school, making friends, making the track team, having a strange desire to spend hours floating on a raft in her new pool, doing a class project with her inattentive partner, Lance and having a strange connection with the most popular guy in school, Will, who is dating the most popular girl in school, a cheerleader named Jennifer.
With snowballing hints, it becomes apparent that Ellie has entered into a modern situation that closely mirrors the events on Arthurian legend. What starts off as a tentative romance turns into a fantastic battle between good and evil, that Ellie never commits to believing in, but finds she must follow to save the boy she loves.
The writing is okay. Cabot certainly is a few notches above Stephanie Meyer's Twilight when it comes to skill. She also includes more humor than Meyer. And less angsty. SO MUCH LESS ANGSTY!
This is a good fantasy escape novel for teen girls. It answers the important questions of 'What if I have to move and start a new school? What if the most popular guy in school seems strangely attracted to me? Hmm? What if I find that popular guy's perfect girlfriend is cheating on him with said popular guy's best friend? How do I resolve this without being evil and with maintaining the popular guy's possible like/love for me?'
I still manage to find myself wavering in my appreciation of this book as a feminist though. While Ellie is active and strong, it is not because she is overcoming her own character's mistakes from her previous life in Arthurian legend. Rather she has been miscast, making for a surprise at the end, but concluding with a sense of determinism when it comes to character actions.
Activities to do with the book:
This book would probably be best as a fun read (although if a class had projects on Arthurian legend, a savvy teacher could try to sneak it in somehow).
It would be good as a book club or individual read, if the group of students had already shown in interest in the Twilight series. There are a number of thematic and plot constructions that are similar and would lend these books to comparison. Or this could be a book recommendation for a struggling reader who has, for the first time ever, expressed an interest in books, specifically Twilight and doesn't know if there's anything else out there for her to read.
Also if the Twilight angle doesn't work, Avalon High has led to a Manga series that would spark the interest of some readers.
"You get to start over. In a whole new school. Where no one knows you. You can be whoever you want to be" (p. 1).
"Only the dark-haired boy smiled at me.I smiled back.It was weird. It was like he smiled at me, and my lips automatically smiled back-my brain had nothing to do with it. There was no conscious decision on my part to smile back.
I just did. Like it was a habit, or something. Like this was a smile I always smiled back to" (p. 19).
For more of my reviews, visit sjkessel.blogspot.com.
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Posted April 20, 2008
I liked Meg Cabot before I read this book. Even I can write better than this. I can't believe anyone would want to publish this. It looks like a rough draft. The whole King Arthur thing was way too silly.
1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.