“What? You want me to go live with Zed?!”
“I wish you wouldn’t call him that. He’s still your dad.”
“But…we barely even see him!”
“He visits for the holidays!”
“Yeah, but weird random holidays that no one here has ever heard of!”
“That’s not true! Panathena is a very big deal in Greece.”
“Really, Mom?! Panthena? I don’t think that’s big deal anywhere…”
All thirteen-year-old Karen wants to do is play video games and watch movies with her mom. But when her mom gets the chance to curate a large art exhibit and contribute a piece, Karen finds that she has to go and spend a few months in Greece with her father, the reclusive Zed.
But when her flight from Newark lands at Mt. Olympus, she quickly finds herself out of her element. The other students are all so accomplished, from the jock Titans, to the broody Fates, to the too-smart-for-their-own-good Mythbuster cliques. Even the drama department seems to own their centaur cosplay.
Because this isn’t just any old Greek city, this is THE Mt. Olympus.
Karen’s attempts to fit in are complicated by the fact that none of the others are pretending, and her new friends actually are the ancient Greek gods, chosen to be reborn and grow up in a new generation. From the handsome Apollo (“Call me Pol.”) and his sister Artemis, to the brainy Athena (“You can call me Tina.”) and the faster-than-you-think Hermes, her classmates set an intimidating standard.
But her efforts to fit in seem to crash to a halt when students start turning to stone. As the new girl, she feels the suspicions falling on her, and the only way to clear her name is to find out what’s realiy going on behind the scenes of Mt. Olympus Junior High.
Before anyone else falls victim.
Oh My Gods! is a charming tale, perfect for all ages, but would especially fit with young adult and middle-grade readers newly learning about Greek mythology. Karen’s attempts to fit in and her confusion over the way things are done in her new school (“Do they not know about Google here…?”) will appeal to high school and older readers, as well.
The tale also touches on an unexpected depth. Writers Cooke and Fitzpatrick deftly explore the trepidation and fear that puberty brings with it and still amplify it in a subtle and creative way. As Karen starts to understand more clearly the significance of her father’s true identity, she can’t help but wonder: What does that mean for her? Maybe the answer lies somewhere in the hidden halls below the school…
Hopefully, we’ll find out soon.
“Class, this is.. Uhhh.. Sorry, what’s your name again?”
“Karen. It’s Karen.”
“… Is that short for something?
“Not that I know of…
“… what a bizarre name. Meet, uh, KAAAAAAARE-EEEN”
VERDICT: FOUR out of FIVE Chestnut Centaurs
Creative Team: Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick (writers), Juliana Moon (artist)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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