Archive for August, 2009 by Tera Lynn Childs

Genre:  Mythology/Romance

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  264 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Phoebe Castro is a dedicated runner who plans to attend USC after her senior year on a full ride track scholarship.  She has planned to go there with her two best friends for many years.  Understandably, she is upset when her mother announces she is marrying a man she met in Greece.  They will both be moving to a small island in the Aegean sea where her new stepfather is the principal of a private school.  Not only does she have to leave her best friends for their senior year, but she also has to go to a new school.  The big surprise for Pheobe is that once her and her mother arrive in Greece she is informed that the school she will be attending is actually a secret school for the children of Greek gods.  Due to the fact that Phoebe is not a child of a god she is treated as an outcast by many of the people who attend the school, including her own stepsister.  Phoebe tries to make the best of it by trying out for the track team and making an effort to meet people, but many make it clear that she does not belong.  This is especially hurtful coming from the cute boy on the track team, Griffin Blake.  Does Phoebe have what it takes to make it in a school full of “gods?”

This story is a lot of fun and does not require a reader to know a lot about mythology to enjoy it, although it might inspire a reader to want to learn more after reading it.  The ending was a big predictable, but still entertaining nonetheless.  The characters are interesting and multi-dimensional as Phoebe struggles to make it in this new environment.  Despite all the changes thrown at her, Phoebe never loses her determination and resolve to make the best of the situation.  There are fantasy elements in it, but readers who like authors like Meg Cabot and Ann Brashares will also enjoy it.

Alvor by Laura Bingham

Genre:  Fantasy

Age Level:  13 and up

# of pages:  274 p.

RAC:  Yes

Fifteen-year-old twins Erin and Bain grew up living with their grandfather after their parents died.  One day while walking in the woods, they come across a secluded cabin and decide to enter.  They soon discover that this cabin is a bridge to another magical world.  In this world they each possess a special gift.  In addition to this, they have incredible power and begin training in magic and swordplay in order to live in this new world that has been expecting them for many years.  They love the new world, but do not know if they can leave their grandfather and everything they knew their whole lives in order to be a part of it.  Plus, the new world has some dangers that they do not immediately know about.  In other words, not everyone is happy to see their arrival.

This fantasy story is well written and creates two characters that most readers will be able to connect to in some way.  The story takes a leisurely pace, but the adventure is intriguing enough that most readers will follow.  The story felt original in many ways and did not feel like it repeated elements found in many other fantasy stories.  An impressive fantasy story that I will be introducing my students to.