But her best friends aren't AT school when she gets there. Why didn't they tell her they wouldn't be coming back? Why were they silent all summer? But stuff like that happens. And it's bad luck that her new teacher makes Esther the butt of all kinds of jokes. Mrs. Pollock is rumored to be an ogre--and maybe she IS one. Could be.
Then things go from unfortunate to outright dangerous. The mountains surrounding the school--usually sparkling with glaciers and lakes, alive with Faeries, and sheltering a quaint town with really great bakeries--are now crowded with Shadow Mages, casting a noticeable pall, and clearly--to Esther--signifying something very dark and threatening. As the people she might have depended on to help are either strangely absent or in hiding, it's left to ordinary, middle-child Esther (just Esther) to act. But she'll have to burst out of the box of mediocrity she's been but in, and do something absolutely extraordinary.