"Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny."
Above are the best artwork I could find on the 'net which were inspired by one of the best book series I've ever read. Sabriel (the main character from the first novel in The Abhorsen Trilogy) is a far cry from the wimpy, only-brave-because-she-became-a-vampire female protagonist we all know of, because Sabriel is headstrong from the get-go, smart and a true inspiration to teen girls everywhere. Sure there's also a love story (a well-written one, too), but it's just one facet of a truly interesting, page-turning series of events revolving around the plucky heroine. The trilogy box set is available at Amazon for $18.81 (from $26.99) :)
I came across the first book through one of my good college friends. Since I came from a science background (both in high school and college), it was never hard for me to meet people who shared or, oftentimes, exceeded my fondness for science fiction/fantasy literature. Anyway, he gifted me with a dog-eared copy of Sabriel (which I made even more dog-eared due to re-reading the book numerous times) on my birthday and I did not anticipate how much I would come to love it because the synopsis did not do the book justice (my way of saying that I was bored with the write-up but quickly changed my mind once I did start to read it). It's similar to Harry Potter and LOTR in that it sucks you into its own universe and you end up wishing that a slice of it or at least a portal to it exists somewhere tangible/hidden. If you have a tween/teen, have them read this instead of Twilight. They'll learn so much more from it rather than read about how gorgeous vampires are in every chapter or that throwing yourself off a cliff in the off-chance that your "true love" will come save you is OK as long as you have a male werewolf friend around *facepalm*. Sorry, I just think that Sabriel deserves more attention than Twilight. Here's to hoping that it will finally get a movie deal and that I'll be an extra in it. Heehee. A MUST READ :)