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Avalon High

Page history last edited by Megan Ingenito 8 years, 2 months ago

Avalon High by Meg Cabot book review

 

 

Character List:

Elaine "Ellie" Harrison: a recently new student at Avalon High—the high school in Maryland that she moved to. She moved from Minnesota.

Arthur William "Will" Wagner: The cutest, richest, most popular boy in school with a disfunctional family.

Jennifer Gold: a cheerleader and Will's girlfriend.

Lance Reynolds: one of Will's friends. He is on the football team with Will.

Marco: Marco is Will's step brother/ half brother.

Mr Morton: he is Will's teacher in Avalon High.

Admiral Arthur Wagner: Will's father

Jean Wagner: Admiral Wagner's wife, who married him 6 months after her husband died in combat.

Ellie's Parents: both parents are professors on sabbatical who came to Maryland to work on their research, which deals with all medieval stuff.

 

Bridgette Metzinger

If you love modern medieval literature, you will love this book. It takes place in a modern world, but with medieval influences. In the story, Ellie must deal with strength, hope, heartache, and love, three topics that are littered throughout this text and throughout medieval lit. Elaine, the main character, moves to a new town, and goes to a new school where she meets Lance, Jennifer, Marco, and Will; however, these three teens aren't who they appear to be. After she moves in, she starts noticing some oddities and connections to literature that others might not notice. She then begins to realize her own historical significance. If you love stories about witty, geeky teens, this is for you! It's a little ridiculous at parts, and I felt like my heart would explode with cuteness at some points, but it's a great entry way into Arthurian Literature. It makes it fun and relevant for teens. Additionally, there are some historically correct items and direct references to other texts and medieval stories, which make the story less of a young adult book and more of a historical fiction. Overall, the story is cute and heartwarming, and makes you think about King Arthur in a new way. There's also lots of foreshadowing, suspense with plot, allusions, metaphors, flashbacks, similes, irony, and other literary devices that make this book great to use in a classroom someday, and layer it with Arthurian texts like Malory to discuss differences in narrative, culture, and do critical analysis. Imagine if King Arthur lived in today's world!

 

Caitlin Higgins

No matter what age, you are sure to enjoy Meg Cabot's Avalon High! It's a typical teenage story where the main character, Ellie, is forced to move to a new school and meet new friends; something that is extremely difficult for any adolescent. But on the bright side, she's lucky when she becomes friends with the popular group and even finds herself having a chance with one of the best guys around. So aside from the hesitation in adjusting, everything seems to be going well until it appears that her group of friends, including Ellie herself, may not be exactly who they think they are. It's ironic that Ellie's parents are medievalists studying on sabbatical, and it just so happens that Ellie begins putting the pieces together by connecting her environment at Avalon High to her parents' studies on King Arthur. So what's the connection? This book is sure to tell you while it's also sure to give you lots of laughs and "aw" moments, as the story itself is just so cute and even relatable at times to any teen. You should definitely check it out as you'll learn a whole lot about the history of King Arthur in a new and fun perspective!

 

Elizabeth Niver

If you love books about quirky high school romances with a little historical flare, then this book is for you! Meg Cabot does a great job of introducing well known Arthurian characters such as Merlin (Mr. Morton), King Arthur (Will), Lancelot (Lance) and Guinevere (Jennifer), and turning them into teenagers who are relatable to younger readers. But what Cabot does extremely well is that she combines old Arthurian tales and plots with a modern young adult love triangle which captures certain medieval themes such as courtly love, chivalry and duty. Readers will see the love triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot, will be introduced to Arthur’s evil step brother who is out for blood, and will see another unsuspected love arise between two characters. By connecting typical teenager troubles to these struggles of love and death, it makes the story of Arthur a bit easier to understand and almost shows how humorous some Arthurian tales can be. One thing that I really liked was how the story was told through the character Ellie, whose parents were both professors who study and teach medieval history, and how at the end, readers learn that Ellie isn’t who everyone believes she is. But what Cabot does that goes against common medieval themes is that she has Ellie, a female character, be the hero in this Arthurian tale. Normally in any medieval texts it is the brave knight or courageous king who saves the damsel from harm and death, but here, readers will learn that Ellie has more power then she ever could have expected, and the fate of the world is in her hands. Putting the story of Arthur into a modern day story, we can see the shift between the power of women and men from the past to present, and see characters fitting into different roles that would not be seen as acceptable during medieval times. Even though this story can be seen as a little cheesy due to the characters being young and “in love”, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in looking at a different prospective of medieval literature, or anyone who wants a quick, but good, read. I am a huge Meg Cabot fan, so I obviously enjoyed this book, but other fans will surely be entertained by another one of her thrilling and alluring books.

 

 

Nikki Lincoln:

*****

Are you interested in teaching Arthurian Literature to a high school class? Then this book is an easy way to break the mold with your students. Because of the teenage setting Meg Cabot has created in her book Avalon High, it’s easy for high schoolers to follow along with the storyline and relate it to their own life. Many aspects of the book follow along with the many stories that have come forth from the medieval time period. There are many characters in Avalon High that, if one is familiar with Arthurian literature, would immediately recognize their role. The characters in her book take on the roles of those back then, even though some don’t believe so. This book is an easy read and actually exciting because you are waiting until the very end to find out, if in fact, the characters are reincarnations of the medieval persons. The easy read of the chapters and ability to follow the storyline can create a base for students to understand Arthurian literature once they start reading it.  I think it’s important to create some sense of connectivity with students and their assignments, so this is a great way to do so. I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 because even though it has many characters that take on the role of medieval ones, the author could have used a bit more. But it is a short read, so I’ll cut her some slack.

 

 

 

Megan Ingenito

 

            Avalon High is viewed by some critics as a “comeback book” having been written a little while after Meg Cabot beat her hugely successful Princess Diaries series into the ground with a hammer and then some. Having received the same praise as some of the original novels, I picked it up in high school hoping for the best. What I got was a book that would stay with my memory long after. It was a well written book with memorable characters and a fairly deep plot. Those are far and few between within the realms of teen fiction nowadays. In reading it as an adult, I realized the plot really does go no deeper than what it is, but there are some very clear statements made on the topic of Arthurian literature.

 

When something is “modernized”, things are chosen based on commentary from the author and what will sell the book. Avalon High is very much that, with a very vapid Jen (Gwen) and Lance (I think that one’s obvious) and a very deep Will. I've learned, over time, that no one who writes a King Arthur story actually likes Guinevere and in a book about the unspoken hero of Avalon literature, she definitely takes backstage. King Arthur, in the stories of medieval England, tends to make rash promises and value knights based on their value to him, like Gawain in his dedicated service. But in Avalon High, Will is a considerate young adult with character flaws and emotional issues just like any well-adjusted young man. He is the reincarnation of King Arthur, but he makes it very clear that he is himself by the end of the book and not this medieval worshiped king. In addition to that, the book is very witty. It’s witty in a way that I realize I often comment on the Arthurian tales we read. Ellie is your typical teen “why can’t my life be normal” narrator, but unlike many other books she grows to accept her situation, embrace it, and grow up. She is the "unconventional hero" and it's very fitting in many ways. It's also, again, commentary. In Monty Python one of the peasants says, "some watery tart giving out swords is no basis for a system of government". But in fact, it was and this is what the book is based on. Ellie is Will's power, his "sword" or weapon so to speak, and his protector as the sword is. The book is a great addition to the ever growing list of “Avalon” related fiction. It’s witty, original, and it comes with its own band of crazy medievalists! (more commentary, anyone?) I enjoyed the book then and I enjoy it now, in a context high school me probably never thought she’d read it in.

 

Alex Opie

            Although I was a little skeptical about this book because it’s written for young adults, I actually ended up really enjoying Meg Cabot’s Avalon High! For anyone interested in teaching or learning about Arthurian Literature, this book is the perfect place to start. It’s a very easy read that will leave you wanting more, which you can get from Arthurian authors like Sir Thomas Malory and Chrétien de Troyes, so students will actually want to read these old texts! At first glance, the story seems like a typical teenage love drama, but there really is so much more. When we first meet Elaine Harrison – Ellie – she has been forced to move to Annapolis, Maryland because her parents need to be near DC for work. Her new school, Avalon High, seems just like the classic high school, filled with stereotypical characters – Will, the senior class president and quarterback, Jennifer the cheerleader, Lance the jock, and Marco the “bad boy.” Because others have noted which students represent each Arthurian character, I won’t repeat it, but I will say that they were all represented well and easy to decipher (except for Ellie). However, I thought that Meg Cabot could have easily added more Arthurian characters to the story, and it would have made it even better. In fact, while I was reading, I kept waiting to meet someone possibly named Gale who was the president of the Abstinence Club, or something along those lines, to embody Sir Galahad (obviously). But then again, this character wasn’t needed for the story; I just would have liked to see it. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, because I think you should all read it for yourselves; I promise it won’t disappoint! However, I will tell you that there is something in there for everyone – romance for the girls, action for the boys, and magic for everyone! I also really loved that the main character and ultimate hero of the story was a female, because it’s something we never see in the original Arthurian legends, and I think it really breathes new life into the tales!

 

  

If you'd like more information, or aren't convinced of how awesome this book is! Check out some of these links for book trailers, movie trailers, and other reviews:

Book review

An Epic Legend! Another trailer- more official

Disney's Avalon High movie trailer

An Interview with the actor who played Will in Avalon High

A Disney channel trailer 

 

 

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