Kids/YA fantasy from the author of the famous Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of Nimh. I thought I'd never read this before, but at chapter 21, it suddenly came rushing back to me... The first half of the book is taken up by Our Young and Suddenly-Orphaned Heroine striking out on her own and fleeing the mysterious bad-guys, and I guess that wasn't terribly memorable to me as a child... but when the spooky evil thought-controlling reform-school comes into the picture - that, I guess, I found memorable.
On her tenth birthday, Ellne wakes up to find a sliver crown on her pillow; a few minutes later her house burns up, her parents disappear, and she is launched on an adventure involving a trek though the woods, a castle full of brainwashed captives, and the powerful Hieronymus Machine which wants her crown.
Good teen fantasy.
By the award-winning author of "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH".
Soon after waking up on her tenth birthday to find a silver crown on her pillow, Ellen's house burns down, her parents disappear, and she is launched on an adventure involving a trek through the woods, a castle full of brainwashed captives, and the powerful Hieronymus Machine which wants her crown.
From the Publisher
Ellen awakens one morning with a mysterious silver frown on the pillow beside her. What magic powers it possesses she has not yet discovered, but the sudden changes in her life are unmistakable: her house is burned down, her family has disappeared, and a man in a dark uniform is stalking her. Can Ellen ever find her family? Can she use the power of the silver crown to thwart the powers of darkness? What diabolical force hides inside the mysterious castle in the woods?