Tam Lin. That basically sums up this entire book.
I'll be fair. There's a lot of other things going on besides the whole Tam Lin thing. But if you're familiar with the Tam Lin story, you'll know how this ends.
The ending wasn't the main focus of the story, though. Of course, everything that happens is building up towards the eventual "happily ever after", but this is a much more character-driven story than anything else. Tanner has to be rescued, of course, but the story doesn't focus very much on him. Despite him being the love interest, which I thought was pretty funny. He's essentially just a plot device.
The main focus of the story was Joy, and the school.
I wasn't really expecting the whole school aspect to the story. Aside from the fact that it uses the "we're built on a site of great magical power!" excuse, some of the history and scenery behind Ash Grove was pretty neat. I loved the disappearing lost rose garden. It was a beautiful setting.
The real meat of the story is Joy's various relationships, and her development as a character. It definitely helped keep the story less focused on the supernatural, and more grounded in reality, which helped give a bit of an atmosphere when the supernatural did finally decide to show up. It's also one of the few books I've seen manage to pull off a sense of realism while dealing with an unrealistic enemy. These types of books usually ruin the effect by writing in characters or situations that just wouldn't make sense in the world they live in. Shadow and the Rose managed to keep all of the humans believably human.
Also, thank you, THANK YOU for Sheila. I hate bullies in stories. They're just there as minor antagonists, someone for the hero to eventually defeat. They usually don't have a purpose, which just doesn't make sense. Sheila has an actual, believable reason for her hatred of Joy. Oh, that was so nice to see.