The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin is a 2013 YA novel by L Jagi Lamplighter (author of the Prospero's Daughter trilogy), followed by The Raven, the Elf, and Rachel. These are the first in a projected series of novels about the eponymous heroine's adventures at school and beyond.Thirteen year old Rachel Griffin has been attending the Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts (a school of magic like no other) for two days before she discovers hints of a world-shattering—or world ending—secret unknown to any of the Wise; meets a princess and a dragon-slaying hero, and saves her friend from being murdered. On day three...It is set in an Alternate History, where monotheism was a brief historical anomaly, but there are just enough hints of things being awry that we can suspect it is indeed our world, altered. As when Rachel sees a statue of a human with bird wings and is baffled by what it could represent — obviously not a fairy, since the wings are not butterfly ones.
The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin contains examples of:
Abusive Parents: Magdalene Chase's. They are actually her aunt and uncle, which partly explains it.
The Ace: Vladimir has a rack of Olympic medals—from different events—all but one of them gold or silver.
Apathetic Citizens: Rachel realizes that she and Vladimir von Dread are the only people truly interested in saving the multiverse from ultimate destruction.
Adults Are Useless: the adults in the school are useful for helping you get to the infirmary after you've been Baleful Polymorphed by bullies, but not for helping you get rid of an invisible wraith feeding on one of the students, and they are all prone to giving stupid orders to the heroes, such as "stay here quietly while we fight off the bad guys."
In The Raven, the Elf, and Rachel, none of the adults are willing to share information, and are alternately demanding whatever Rachel and her friends do know, and completely dismissing them.
Gaius gives as reason for his loyalty to von Dread that he is less incompetent and more interested in the wellbeing of the students than any of the teachers.
Ain't No Rule: Against having your friends hit you to get you into the infirmary.
Alpha Bitch: Possibly deconstructed. Nastasia shows a very mild, Proper Lady-infused take on this, by being the (unwilling) head of a devoted (one-girl) Girl Posse, who is silently jealous of Rachel's accomplishments.
Amazon Chaser: Sigfried asks Valerie out immediately after she demonstrates the correct way to wear and draw a Bowie knife.
Gaius is also extremely impressed when he learns about Rachel recovering from a broomstick crash and paralyzing her opponent on the way down.
And the Adventure Continues: Due to being the first book in a series, Unexpected Enlightenment ends rather abruptly, with several secondary plots only partially resolved. The Raven, the Elf, and Rachel continues immediately after.
Apocalypse How: Book one hints at a Class 5 or 6—planetary extinction or destruction. Book two implies a danger of Class Z, omniversal annihilation.
Cuteness Overload: Siegfried suffers one after seeing Rachel and Nastasia dancing a jig of joy.
The Chosen One: Joy and Nastasia are (perhaps) the subjects of a prophecy.
Casual Danger Dialogue: When the wraith, which Rachel can see but Sigfried can't, attacks Rachel, she reports the fact calmly and tries describe its position.
Chekhov's Gunman: the "vampire hunter wannabe" club is mentioned by Gaius in a throwaway line, one and a half chapters before the heroes encounter a wraith feeding on a fellow student. Jonah Strega is also namedropped ominously several times before he comes on stage.
Crush Blush: "My love" — which is a regional saying that means nothing — still turns Rachel's face hot enough to fry eggs on it.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Nastasia's father, the king of Magical Australia, is described as an extreme example of this by his children. Rachel, when she gets a chance to observe him, thinks that he is instead someone with a very twisted sense of humor.
The Ditz: Sigfried cannot/will not concentrate on anything that does not pertain to blowing things up, stabbing them, setting them on fire, or other such knightly pursuits. It's only with difficulty he can be persuaded to think about saving the world.
Disappeared Dad: Valerie Foxx's father, a detective, vanished before the series begins. The second book reveals that he had been seen talking to the Big Bad the day before.
Dragon Hoard: Sigfried and Lucky "inherited" one after the decease of its previous owner. As per the trope, they also sleep on it.
Expy: According to the author, the series is based on a Massive Multiplayer Crossover role-playing game created and played by her family, and the finished story contains non-public domain characters with the "serial-numbers filed off."
Sakura Suzuki seems to be the expy of a Magical Girl anime heroine.
Mr. Chanson the gym teacher appears to be an expy of Superman.
Famed in Story: Sigfried Smith is an in-universe celebrity for having killed a dragon and taken its hoard. He also saved Roanoke campus from a flying, flaming skunk.
Female Gaze: Rachel falls into the tween version of this occasionally.
Fighting from the Inside: People under a geas can usually do this. However, a new kind of geas has been invented in which the geassed person may not be aware of their compulsions, and thus unable to fight back.
Flying Broomstick: Rachel owns "Vroomie," a hand-made steeplechaser. "Bristleless" Flycycles are also mentioned.
Generation Xerox: There are an awful lot of "John" and "Wendy" Darlings, all related to the famous original family.
Genius Loci: Idunn's daughter, the titular Elf of the second book.
He Is Not My Boyfriend: Gaius. She had, after all, just met him and was rather younger at an age where a few years is significant.
He's Just Hiding: In-Universe. Enoch Smythwick, the student who had seemingly made a Heroic Sacrifice in the previous book, is revealed to have survived but been concealed in case of further reprisals.
The Masquerade: discussed and examined. It takes one of the protagonists to ask the obvious question: if the World of the Wise uses obscurations and Laser-Guided Amnesia to hide from the mundane world, what protects the same thing from happening to them?
Not Now, Kiddo: Sterling example: Rachel knows the keyword to bind Azrael, the demon possessing Mortimer Egg. When she tries to tell her sister Laurel this, Laurel turns around and jinxes her voice so Rachel can't distract her from the fight.
The Oathbreaker: Those who walk the Dark Path were greatly strengthened when a Vestal Virgin broke her vows.