A modern girl’s comedic odyssey in a school filled with the descendants of Greek gods.
When Phoebe’s mom returns from Greece with a new husband and moves them to an island in the Aegean, Phoebe’s plans for her senior year and track season are ancient history. Now she must attend the uberexclusive academy, where admission depends on pedigree, namely, ancestry from Zeus, Hera, and other Greek gods. That’s right, they’re real, not myth, and their teen descendants are like the classical heroes—supersmart and superbeautiful with a few superpowers. And now they’re on her track team! Armed only with her Nikes and the will to win, Phoebe races to find her place among the gods.
Thanks to JL for the book!
Before I wrote this review, I did a quick blog search for others’ reviews of it. And what I found stumped me—this book is adored everywhere except for a few places that do like it, just had qualms about the character development. I’m wondering just how this became everyone’s pet.
... I must’ve not read the same novel as everyone else.
In the first three pages, it’s established Phoebe’s a runner, her mom’s a therapist, and her mom’s getting married with a man she’s known for six days (and tells Phoebe this right after Phoebe’s done running a very important race. Like, in the middle of the track!). And she says it’s love. Oh, and they’re also moving to Greece because the dude’s Greek and “can’t leave his job”.
First of all, is it just me, or is informing your daughter that you’re moving her thousands of miles overseas in the middle of a cross country meet about the most inopportune moment in the history of crappy timing? Who drops that kind of a bomb out of the blue like that? A therapist? It doesn’t stop here either—when they’re getting to the island where they’ll be living in Greece, on the ferry ride, Damian (that’s hubby-hunk) explains that the school Phoebe is going to is populated by descendants of Greek gods.
Yes. In the ferry.
And they expect this to sink in quickly and for her to keep in quiet.
Just—oh, I’ll let you form your own opinions. Let’s go back to the opening scene.
So, the mom’s a psycho-therapist who expects her senior daughter to move to an isolated Greek island because she fell in love with Damian in the six days she was in Greece for a family reunion with her late husband, Phoebe’s father. (Phoebe wasn’t able to make it because of this Very Important Race that would decide if she’d get a scholarship to her dream school, USC.) She’s all blushing, heaving bosoms, and being clingy like a teenager to this Damian.
WHO DOES THIS?!
I’m wondering why there was this opening scene at all. Why not just begin with Phoebe in Greece? And why make the mom a therapist? Why not one of those obsessive-compulsive, needy women who would actually move halfway across the world with a man they’ve known for six days and claim it’s love?
I’m sorry, but the plot’s got more holes than the ozone layer.
It doesn’t really get much better. Characters: all clichés (right down to the misunderstood environmentalist, obsessively tree-hugging best friend named Granola by her hippie parents), never really developed (the mother goes on random bouts of psycho-babble, but frankly, given her lack of consideration to her daughter’s needs, namely not moving in with some random dude!!! make her a caricature to me), and most of the time nonsensical (she meets Love Interest #1, Griffin, in a beach run where he just miraculously show up so we get the Fateful Meeting of Lovebirds—apparently Psycho Mom didn’t teach her not to speak to strangers, especially descendant-of-gods who might zap her to Saturn strangers).
The writing lacks transition. There’s no logical connection between what happens in the story. I mean, the sudden move to Greece is semi-explained in the end, but I just don’t buy it—it’s too much make-believe (even for a book where the Greek gods are alive) that it’s like fantasy within fantasy.
The plot’s....meh. I could’ve done without the whole Nicole-Griffin drama, and frankly, I thought the whole thing was a little too dramatic and rushed. The actual, primary plot is more predictable than night following day, but by the point where all is revealed, I didn’t really care anymore.
I thought the concept was brilliant—Greek gods having descendants, descendants having to work for their power, the high school clique scene (determined by which god is in your family. Emos are the “Hades harem”, so on, so forth), etc. It was really original, and being a Greek raised knowing mythology myself, I thought this book could’ve gone deeper. It’s obvious Ms Childs knows the gods. The question is: When will we get to see more of the premise and less of these overly comical setups that are neither commonsensible nor funny?
I, for one, found this disappointing. I just cannot do with clichés, y’all. Perhaps if I was a little less anal-retentive... I’m not sure this would work, even then. Liked the premise; not so with the execution.