This is Marillier's only book that is written for young adults, as far as I know, but it has all of the elements of her other fantasy writing. Like her other books, it is drawn from traditional folklore and is set in our world, although magic is a part of that world. In this case the folklore is Romanian, and the story takes place in a castle called Piscul Dracului. The main character is the second of five sisters who for years have been traveling to the Other Kingdom through a secret passageway in their bedroom, every full moon. The sisters range in age from five to seventeen years old, with Jena being fifteen years old. Jena's best friend is a frog she found in the forest who speaks to her telepathically and joins her in everything she does. Although Jena is only fifteen, and female, she is given a lot of responsibility, and helps her liberal-minded father with his trading business. The story begins when her father is very ill, and must leave for the winter for warmer climates if he wants his health to improve. Jena and her sisters are left in charge of the manor in his absence.
The sisters' cousin, Cezar is eighteen, and seeks to take control of the family and the business while their father is gone. Jena must learn how to protect her family from his machinations, while keeping her younger sisters in line, managing the manor and the business, while her older sister has become lost in her love for a man from the Other Kingdom. It is a coming of age story, about learning to trust yourself and those you love, and at the same time learning to let go of those things that you have no control over.
**this review also posted at hip librarians book blog**