Title: Avalon High
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 2006
Price: $8.99 (paperback)
Genre: Contemporary, Mythology
Interest Age: 12 to 17
Lexile Level: 800
Annotation: King Arthur retelling set in modern day high school.
Plot Summary: Avalon High is a modern take on the Arthurian legend. Ellie, named after Lady Elaine of Astolat a.k.a Lady of Shalott, knows way more on medieval life, especially King Arthur and his court, than any teenager should know. That’s because her parents are medieval scholars and when they move their family to Annapolis for their sabbatical, Ellie notices that her new classmates have way more in common with the Arthur legend then coincidence. Like the name of the school – Avalon High. Or popular boy Will’s life – a girlfriend named Jennifer, a best friend named Lance, and a contentious relationship with step sibling Marco. As she gets assign to a project about King Arthur’s time strange things begin happening and Ellie needs to figure out what’s going on before everything ends up in tragedy.
Critical Evaluation: The impetus that actually drove me to read this book is watching the Disney Channel movie of Avalon High.I enjoyed it and so the saying goes “the book is usually better than the movie”, I had to get the book. While the overall story line is similar, the movie differs a lot from the book.
For those familiar with the King Arthur stories, the various character nods is fairly obvious. Despite that and the somewhat obvious plotting, I delighted in the story because of Cabot’s characterizations and style of writing. No matter how cliché or plot-obvious Cabot gets sometimes, I always get drawn into her stories because her characters’ voices is always so damn well-done. In Avalon High, Ellie’s the voice of the story and she’s funny and witty. Even secondary characters are brought to life like Ellie’s wacky parents. An entertaining modern take on King Arthur.
Author Bio: Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition to her award-winning adult contemporary fiction, she is the author of bestselling young adult fiction, including The Princess Diaries and the Mediator series. More than twenty-five million copies of her novels for children and adults have sold worldwide. Meg lives in Key West, Florida, with her husband.
Tie to Curriculum Units: King Arthur Mythology
Booktalking Ideas: High school setting, King Arthur, new school
Challenge Issues: To combat challenges, I would mention that Avalon High won Kentucky Bluegrass Award and commended on Texas Lone Star Reading List. Additionally, the book was nominated on other state awards and provide a fun entrée into Arthurian mythology.