Athena The Brain by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Goddess Girls #1, Aladdin, 2010
Everything changes for 12-year-old Athena the day she is summoned from Earth to Mount Olympus by none other than her (surprise!) dad, Zeus. She enrolls at Mount Olympus Academy, a place of godboys and goddessgirls, where classes like Hero-ology, Spell-ology, and Beauty-ology complete a proper goddess education. Jealous Medusa tries to sabotage Athena, but quick thinking and good friends help her prevail over the bitter girl with the weird hairdo. (courtesy of Amazon)
Athena The Brain is an adorable, light take on Greek mythology. Athena has grown up as an orphan on Earth, living with her friend's family. She's always been different - smarter, better. Now she knows why. She's the daughter of Zeus! She is summoned to attend Mount Olympus Academy with all the other goddessgirls, godboys, and a few errant mortals.
Athena's story is relatable to any girl who has started a new school. She's scared and excited. Even though she's brilliant, Hero-ology, Beast-ology and other classes are new to her. Plus, there's all these new people. Nice girls like Aphrodite, handsome boys like Poseidon, strange girls like Pandora, and mean girls like Medusa. Plus Zeus, her dad, can be just as difficult as he can be charming.
This was such a fun book. It takes all the elements of Greek mythology that we all learn in school and turns it into a cute, fluffy story. I haven't studied Greek mythology since 6th grade and never really liked it that much, but I had no trouble keeping up with the characters and the stories. I especially enjoyed Pandora, whose incessant curiosity made her a nosy yet loveable character.
I don't have any major problems with this book. It's meant for fun (and enjoyable education), so it's probably not going to be up for the Newbery prize, but that doesn't make the book any less worthy. The only thing I wish had been done differently was a better depiction of Athena's life prior to going to Mount Olympus Academy. The beginning threw her into the plot too quickly. But such a preface probably would have just added unnecessary pages and plot set-up, so I'm not too troubled.
The story very loosely follows Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, two epic poems that I really liked in high school. The kids were playing with mortals in hero-ology and inadvertently create a huge conflict. It was fun to see how every little detail connected to Greek history and mythology. Learn the "real" idea behind the Trojan horse.
The first Goddess Girl book is a quick, easy, light read. It's a must read for lovers of Greek mythology, but even people who have no particular affinity for it will find something to enjoy. I think it would be ideal as a co-read for students learning mythology in school.
Rating: 4 / 5
Check out all the Goddess Girls books!
Athena the Brain
Persephone the Phony
Aphrodite the Beauty
Artemis the Brave
And now for a giveaway!
In honor of the recent release of the fourth book in the Goddess Girls series, Artemis The Brave, the authors Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams have graciously put together an awesome swag prize pack.
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