Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publication: Margaret K. McElderry (October 12, 2010)
Description: What Lily Carter wants most in the world is to attend Princeton University just like her grandfather. When she finally visits the campus, Grandpa surprises her: She has been selected to take the top-secret Legacy Test. Passing means automatic acceptance to Princeton. Sweet!
Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons—the ordinary one and a magical one—and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.
When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage—and a little magic—to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this contemporary fantasy. I thought Lily was a realistic teen. She was excited to be visiting Princeton with her grandfather and her mother. She was bright and intended to go to Princeton like her grandfather had. She was also used to protecting her mother who has memory issues and who was prone to doing odd things. She had learned to always keep a calm front no matter what new strange thing her mother did. She was very protective of her mother.
When she arrived at Princeton, she was surprised to learn that her grandfather had set her up for the Legacy test. Passing it meant automatic admission to Princeton. But taking the test really opened her up to new experiences like getting advice from the stone gargoyles who decorate the buildings at Princeton. Since they are visiting at a reunion weekend, she sees lots of orange and black. In fact, a young man named Tye who presents himself as her guard during the quest has orange and black hair.
She quickly learns that her grandfather is one of the Knights who protect humans because Princeton has a gate to another world - a world with were-tigers, gargoyles, unicorns, dryads and elves. But it takes a key to travel between the worlds. Lily's test is to find a key. During her quest, Lily learns lots of secrets about Princeton, her family and herself. She finds herself in great danger and in the middle of a possible war.
This story had adventure, danger and romance. I recommend it to fantasy-loving young adults.
Kneeling in front of the flower bed again, she spread her fingers to touch several tulips. "Up," she said. Obediently, leaves lifted into the air. "Sideways," she said and tipped her hand to the right. All the flowers dipped their blossoms. "Other way." They reversed directions. "Braid." She twisted her fingers against the stems and imagined what she wanted them to do, and the flowers wrapped around one another.
Tye knelt next to her. "How do you feel?"
"Like I have a really lame superpower," Lily said, unbraiding the flower stems.