Among Others, by Jo Walton
Morwenna is heading off to a fairly posh boarding school. It's 1979, and boarding school is the last place she wants to be....except for with her mother, which would be much worse. Mor is Welsh (thus kind of foreign), brainy and bookish, and has to walk with a cane since her accident. The school is largely focused on games and social standing, so Mor has few friends. She misses her twin sister (who died), Wales, and the fairies they knew for years. Mor is the survivor of the magical battle she and her sister fought, and this is the aftermath, the part after the story is ended. But since Mor is still alive, she needs to find purpose and her place in things -- and maybe the battle isn't quite as over as she thinks.
I liked this novel a lot; it's good stuff, well-written and gripping. Mor is very lonely, and finds solace in reading SF, and a good chunk of the book is a paean to old-school science fiction writers. I would say, in fact, that it gets to be quite a bit too much, but it did remind me that I would like to read some James Tiptree, Jr.* She also performs some magic, and then spends a lot of time trying to figure out the repercussions of what she's done, which I liked very much. The fairies and magic elements in the story are very well-done.
So instead of traveling from a hum-drum life to a magical boarding school, Mor spends the whole story in a hum-drum boarding school, away from her magic-laden former life. A fun turn-around. Highly recommended, but only if you enjoy reading a surprising amount about Robert Silverberg and others.
*Of which none is to be found in my local library. But my brother did inform me of the existence of BloodHag, a death metal band that writes songs almost exclusively about SF/F authors and the joys of libraries. I don't care for death metal but I quite liked the clip of "James Tiptree, Jr." I saw in a short film about them, "The Faster You Go Deaf...". Share and enjoy!