Elena Baxter just turned 16, and boy, was it a sweet one! She found out she's a direct descendant of the Lady of the Lake from the Arthurian legends, which, in her world, are actually true. As her new witch powers begin to unfold, she's granted the opportunity to travel to the magical land of Avalon, located off the northeast coast of England. Elena enrolls in New Avalon, a school for all of the young women who share powers similar to Elena's, and Elena decides to stay upon coming to terms with the fact that in just three years she will be the next Lady of the Lake, the ruler of Avalon.
Andrea Buginsky has crafted the world of Avalon to be every girl's fairy tale dreamland - sprites, unicorns, wonderful people, and other enchanted creatures. With a Hogwarts-esque feel and wonderful imagery, the reader gets a vivid image of Avalon. Elena is surrounded by new friends and her godmother, Isabel, who is the current Lady of the Lake (the Lady gets replaced every 125 years), which gives the book a very homey, warm feel. While the book has a fair amount of external character development, I would have liked to see Buginsky really delve into Elena's emotions, which were sparse besides the few moments when she realizes the consequences of becoming the Lady of the Lake and when she misses her home. Also, there is no overarching antagonistic force in the book. In the first few chapters Elena has difficulty with a few bullies at her school back home in America, but otherwise, that's it. The book comes to a conclusion with no real climax and no villain or villainous force foreseeable in the next installment of the series. Elena has everything set up for her perfectly to become the next Lady of the Lake with little or no difficulties approaching besides a few unnamed resentful girls who feel that Isabel is playing the nepotism game. Otherwise, she's got it all together with the full support of her professors, friends, family, and fellow students. There is nothing and no one to truly oppose her, which leads to a fairly flat ending to the book. Hopefully we'll see a villain emerge in the next book in the New Avalon series!
The book is very clean, no large thematic elements, and has only 2 uses of mildly profane languages. I'd say ages 11 and up could read this book based on its content.
Enjoy, and happy readings!