For the two Barbara Cabots, Bad Mommy and Aunt Babs
Many thanks to Beth Ader, Jennifer Brown, Barbara M. Cabot, Michele Jaffe, Laura Langlie, Abigail McAden, and especially Benjamin Egnatz.
"Avalon High seems like a typical high school, attended by typical students: There’s Lance, the jock. Jennifer, the cheerleader. And Will, senior class president, quarterback, and all-around good guy.
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?"
Minnesota high school junior Elaine 'Ellie' Harrison moves to Annapolis, Maryland with her parents, medieval studies professors, for their year on sabbatical. She spends the last days of summer floating in her backyard pool, uninterested in any form of social contact. While going for a run at the local park, she bumps into three teenagers, including an attractive dark-haired boy sitting alone by a ravine, who strangely seems to recognize her.
On Ellie's first day at Avalon High, she learns their identities: Lance Reynolds, the football team guard; Jennifer 'Jen' Gold, a popular cheerleader; and A. William 'Will' Wagner, the dark-haired boy - class president, quarterback, and Jen's girlfriend. Will shows up at her house after school as Ellie's student guide, and they strike up a close friendship. Ellie joins the track team, and her new friends warn her that Will - the most popular guy in school - has become more withdrawn ever since his father - a wealthy Navy officer - remarried his best friend's wife. Will confesses to Ellie that he has been clashing with his father over his future: Admiral Wagner expects him to join the Naval Academy, but he wants to go to college and make a difference in the world. In Mr. Morton's World Lit class, Ellie is paired with Lance for a presentation on The Lady of Shalott, much to her dismay. She writes the project proposal, but is shocked when Mr. Morton rejects it, calling her and Lance in for a disciplinary meeting.
At a party at Will's house that weekend, Ellie discovers that Jen is cheating on Will with Lance. She meets Will's 'bad boy' step-brother Marco, who had been expelled from Avalon High the previous year for assaulting Mr. Morton. Marco invites Ellie to come sailing with him, Will, Lance, and Jen the next day, and she reluctantly accepts, wary of his motives. The trip goes smoothly until Marco deliberately causes an accident on a nearby boat, using the opportunity to reveal Jen and Lance's relationship. A hurt Will refuses to speak to anyone for the rest of the trip, and upon returning to shore, spends the evening with Ellie, who helps him accept the breakup.
When Lance fails to show up for their meeting with Mr. Morton the next morning, Ellie mentions the situation with Jen, and he is immediately shaken. He eventually reveals that he is a member of the Order of the Bear, a secret society tracking the possible resurrection of King Arthur, and excuses himself from school. However, Ellie tracks him down to his apartment, where he is packing to leave the country, and he explains the Order's belief: Will is the reincarnation of Arthur, Lance is Lancelot, Jennifer is Guinevere, and Marco is Mordred. With the exposure of Lance and Jen's relationship, just as Lancelot and Guinevere betrayed Arthur, Will is now alone and exposed to the 'forces of darkness' driving Marco. Believing Ellie to be Elaine of Astolat - the Lady of Shalott, who fell in love with Lancelot and died on a floating boat when he left her - Mr. Morton encourages her to leave town as well, and to let Marco destroy Will in this cycle. Ellie accuses him of abandoning his own cause, and leaves to find Will.
Back at school, Ellie finds Jen crying in the bathroom. They discuss their respective relationships with Will, and Jen urges Ellie to pursue him. Passing the guidance office, Ellie spots Mr. Morton, Will, and his stepmother Jean talking, but Marco crashes the meeting, breaking his terms of probation. Upon discovering that Jean is Will's birth mother, he angrily escapes, with Will on his tail. Home alone that evening during a powerful storm, Ellie receives a call from Jean that Will and Marco have gone missing. She realizes that Marco is going to hurt Will, and grabs a medieval sword her father is studying to help him.
Braving the storm, Ellie runs to the park and finds Will at the ravine, where they share a first kiss. They are interrupted by the arrival of Marco, who points a gun at Will and expresses his anger at the death of his father, and at being constantly compared to his half-brother. Will urges Ellie to leave, but she refuses, and throws him the sword as Marco pulls the trigger. As Will grabs the sword, he dodges the bullet, and Marco loses his grip on the gun, confused by what Ellie has done. Lance, Jen, and Mr. Morton arrive on the scene with the police, and Marco is arrested.
Back at the Harrisons' house, Mr. Morton apologizes to Ellie for underestimating her. He explains that the forces of darkness have left Marco with Will's triumph, the Order of the Bear will be closely managing Will's future, and suggests that Ellie is in fact the reincarnation of the Lady of the Lake, a mysterious but powerful figure in the Arthur myth who was one of his closest confidantes - and who handed him his sword, Excalibur. Will arrives, having been kicked out of his house after telling his father he did not want to go to the Academy, and is taken in by the Harrisons. The novel ends with Ellie and Will affirming their relationship; Ellie realizes that just as the Lady of the Lake brought Arthur to Avalon, she is now at 'home' with Will.
- Main article: Avalon High (film)
|Avalon High series|