Katie Reads: Oh. My. Gods.

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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 uber exclusive 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 super beautiful 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.

First the good: Phoebe’s love of running. It was great to see a girl with a passion for a physical activity and the author did a really good job conveying this. We also saw Phoebe work really hard to meet her running goals, which was a positive message about hard work. I made me want to grab my sneakers and go running (which I did not do because it was about 1:30 in the morning when I finished this book).

The meh: The was too much going on and too many characters for the length of the book. If it had been longer this would have been less of a problem, but as it was I feel like I didn’t get a good handle on the tidbits of backstories we were getting for all the different people around Phoebe. The concept of the book was interesting, but just wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. Children who are related to the Greek gods and have superpowers? That’s cool. But it really didn’t feel like it was incorporated well. The story could easily have been about Phoebe whose mom marries a man she met in Ohio and Phoebe is forced to move there and attend the fancy private school where he is headmaster. The plot would have been 90% the same.

The bad: I get it. If I’m going to read teen books I should be prepared for romance. I have nothing against romance in books if it’s done well. This book included the classic tale of a spunky outcast who falls for the popular jock who is dating the most popular girl in school and is a complete jerk to outcast!girl, but is suddenly revealed to have a sensitive side and ditches hot popular girl for the outcast. Especially aggravating was SPOILER that at the end after jock and Phoebe get together, jock (Griffin) reveals that there is this prophecy that shows that the two of them are soulmates and Phoebe decides to give up her dream (going to USC on a track scholarship, which is only the thing she mentions literally every other page and is shown working hard towards) to stay at school for an extra year to be with Griffin and then (this is the kicker) is going to go to Oxford instead of USC so that she can STAY WITH HIM. For all that the book went on about how in love Phoebe and Griffin were, I never got the opinion that they actually like each other that much.

Also, I’m pretty sure Phoebe’s mom actually hates her. Despite being a therapist, her mom sees nothing wrong with marrying a man she met during a six day trip to Greece because WE’RE SO IN LOVE and then forcibly moving her daughter during her senior year of high school to a tiny island in Greece. Phoebe was definitely bratty about the situation, but I mean, who wouldn’t be? Giving Phoebe a mom who was more flighty and likely to do something like this would have made a lot more sense. As it was, the decision to do all this was very at odds with how Phoebe’s mom supposedly is.

At the end Phoebe’s two best friends show up for her big track meet. We’re informed that they’re visiting for one day only. Who flies to Greece to only spend one day there??? We’re told it’s because they can’t miss too much school. What?

Concept: Yes

Execution: No

Stay magical readers!

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