Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Goddess Girls #2 Persephone the Phony by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

Persephone's mother is one of those people who believe that her daughter would be happier with lots of friends, so she advises Persephone to "go along to get along", even if it's not what she really wants to do, and to agree with her friends and other people to get them to like her. But following her mother's advice isn't making Persephone happy. It makes her feel like she doesn't matter, nor does what she likes or what she wants to do. Because she loves her mother, she follows her advice, even though it makes her feel sad inside.

Worse, the other students can tell she isn't really enthusiastic about espousing their ideas, and they feel that there is something wrong with her, which makes them draw away, leaving Persephone to label herself a phony, and know, in her heart of hearts, that it's true.

She feels especially bad when she drops her ball of yarn and follows it down to a cemetery, where she meets the Godboy known as Hades. She likes Hades, but he can tell when she's lying to make him feel good, and calls her out on her untruths. And even though Hades is from the Underworld, which her mother is always telling her is a horrid place where horrible people hang out, she finds herself liking him a lot. But she knows her mother wouldn't understand her relationship with Hades, or the places that they find peaceful to hang out. And it seems neither do her friends, who band together to "protect" Persephone from the Godboy she is coming to care for.

But when her mother flatly forbids her to see Hades, Persephone is enraged and decides to run away to be with Hades. But since she doesn't know the way, she has to disguise herself as a human to cross the River Styx and make it to his home. And once there, she must make her way through the dangers of the underworld to Hades side. But will he be happy to see her, and will he allow her to stay? What will be the fallout of her running off to see him? Will her mother ever be able to trust her again? And is there any hope for Persephone and Hades?

Okay, I am slowly starting to warm to this series. Yes, there is something very cringe-worthy about most of the Greek Gods and Goddesses being teenagers when Zeus is an adult (and so is Demeter, and the authors are ignoring that most of the Greek Gods are brothers and sisters, including Demeter, Persephone's mother who supposedly has a crush on Zeus), but the stories themselves are engaging and light and make fun of modern society something like the Harry Potter books do (with things like "Breadstyx" and "nectaroni and cheese".

This is definitely a "Greek Myths Lite" that might offend readers who know the real deal, but I hope that reading these books make readers want to read the original myths that much more. It's likely to appeal to kids who enjoyed the Percy Jackson books, but in a much lighter, fluffier vein. So far it seems to be focussing on the female goddesses, sort of a "Percy Jackson for younger girls". Kids already into the myths might be offended, but others might find it just the thing for them.

This series is kind of a mixed bag. It's written with humor, but at the same time, the way the original myths are rendered (you might say "rent") makes readers who know the originals cringe. As a light introduction to the myths it's only okay, but some readers won't mind at all. Other writers have really done it better, so recommended only slightly for the humor value.

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