Saturday, July 16, 2011

Avalon High: a Review

I’ve been a big fan of Meg Cabot’s books for quite a few years now. I love her writing, her sense of humor, her way of getting into the head the modern day teen. (By the way, her blog at is a hoot.) Now I can’t condone all that she’s written, but overall her works are fun reads. Avalon High is no exception. I really loved it.

Avalon High is set in modern day Maryland with heroine Ellie Harrison moving into a new community with her Medieval Studies parents. She begins to realize that all her new acquaintances from Avalon High School may actually be reincarnations of those included in King Arthur lore—most especially Will Wagner aka: Arthur. If you’ve read any of the original King Arthur stories and are familiar with the traditions, you will appreciate what Meg has put together in this novel. She’s taken the idea that after King Arthur died he would return when needed and those supporters of Mordred would try to stop him.

Cabot has written a novel similar to her others in the YA genre. The language and tone is relevant to today’s teens. It’s a fun and enjoyable read. You want to spend time with these characters, to get to know them, to follow them through this adventure to the end, and to see if Ellie and Will are meant to be together and are able to save the world.

Although there are things I love about the Princess Diaries (and Mia is a character who will never be replaced in the sphere of my favorite heroines), I have to say that I enjoyed Avalon High even more so. Maybe it’s the sweet story with a plot strongly revolving around the adventure. Whatever it may be, I definitely give this book my recommendation.

Movie vs. the Book

Now what about the Avalon High movie recently aired on the Disney Channel?

Well, that is a horse of another color. I was really looking forward to the movie. The main character Ellie was to be played by Britt Robertson recently in the short-lived but well-done series Life Unexpected. Unfortunately, the producers completely changed the plot of the book, took away from the original Cabot tale and the excellent connection to the King Arthur storyline. They added unnecessary characters and reworked the intentions of characters to the exact opposite of their original counterpart in the novel. It was actually painful to watch the film, and I felt sorry for Meg that her story has thus been shredded and flambéed. Watch it if you must but do yourself a favor and read the book instead.