Read this book when I was a middle schooler (learned lots of new vocabulary words seldom used elsewhere). An excellent read; I revisit fairly often. A complete, imaginary realm. It is dark fantasy, dealing with death, dead things that won't stay dead, coming of age, responsibility, loss, and blossoming sexuality (very light). Sabriel is an excellent role model, someone who does what is right, not what is easy. The staff reviewer seems to take issue with the sexuality in the book (which is minimal: it discusses (in passing) menarche and misinformation, the existence of contraception, the existence of male genetalia on a naked, unconscious man, ambivalence about romantic relationships, a kiss or two, and the scene in which Sabriel hears others having sex and gets the wrong idea is one of my most favorite moments in the book-- it gives us inight into her feelings for someone and a good laugh during a heavy part of the book). Our heroine is, after all, 17 or 18 years old at the outset of the book. Most younger readers will have had some sex ed, but obviously lack an appreciation for the stickiness of growing up, beginning relationships, etc. Our heroine makes smart choices for herself, and author Garth Nix presents sexuality in a practical, uncharged way. Well done! Also, Lirael and Abhorsen are worthy sequels, although you definitely need both of those back to back. Also, side note: my little brother tried reading this as a fourth or fifth grader and was overwhelmed by the dark imagery, so even purged of all things vaguely sexual, the book is best left for a slightly more mature reader no matter their reading ability.