Guardian on the Dead by Karen Healey (Little, Brown, 4/1/10)
New Zealander Ellie Spencer just wants to spend her last year of high school in peace, even if she does have to spend it at boarding school and not in her hometown. But the moment her secret crush enchants her – literally – Ellie is drawn into a supernatural crisis that threatens everything she loves.
The creatures of Māori mythology aren’t so mythological – and some of them are murderous. Once her eyes are open, there’s no peace for Ellie; only a magical war the right side must win. Ellie must do what she can with her rusty tae kwon do skills and her newfound magical abilities to save her friends, her country, and millions of lives.
From the author’s website:
In less than a day I had been harassed, enchanted, shouted at, cried on, and clawed. I’d been cold, scared, dirty, exhausted, hungry, and miserable. And up until now, I’d been mildly impressed with my ability to cope.
At her boarding school in New Zealand, Ellie Spencer is like any ordinary teen: she hangs out with her best friend, Kevin; obsesses over her crush on a mysterious boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. Then everything changes: In the foggy woods near the school, something ancient and deadly is waiting.