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Friday, December 4, 2009

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lyn Childs

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lyn Childs
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, YA
Length: Full ( 264 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Asphodel

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 uberexclusive 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 superbeautiful 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.
Is it possible for one average American teen to fit in with a class of Olympic heritage? Phoebe has just this question to figure out and answer when out of the blue her mother whisks her off to a secret Greek island as she prepares to be married to a man she only met a week ago. Phoebe predicts colossal failure, her Mom assures her this is a god sent opportunity for her and I was left with the question of why there are so many insinuations about this being such an epic big deal.

The dialogue is quick and shows a real eye (or ear?) for how teens speak. There isn't any forced moments when Childs tried to force me to believe this was how teenagers really spoke or acted. It flowed easily and the transition between scenes made for a quick, light read. The story moved along without dragging down and Phoebe's observations, and sometimes lack thereof, are really funny and her narrative voice is engaging.

Despite the fact this is a novel about the descendents of the Greek Gods, it doesn't veer off of the stereotypes for teenagers too much. Phoebe comes off a little smug, and as if she knows everything. Her stepsister is the typical 'evil' stepsister and the students are of the classic mold. Not that this is a problem, Childs still has dialogue that is fun and witty and there are certainly some ha-ha moments, but I expected a little more by way of fleshing them out. The author relies too heavily on the stereotypes to explain a character's motivations.

The 'surprise' isn't that surprising given the contextual clues and a grasp of Greek mythology, but I found the dynamic of Phoebe and her two friends from America to be more surprising. Throughout the entire novel Phoebe is motivated by her need to get that scholarship and get back to America so that her and her friends can be together. The plan had been in place for years. When things change, it made me wonder if Phoebe had been the driving force behind that decision and her friends didn't want to disappoint her. I wanted to learn a bit more about the time between Phoebe's leaving and the end of the novel.

Oh. My. Gods. was an entertaining novel that gave the gods a spin that would be fun for anyone to imagine as their ancestors. The sequel, Goddess Boot Camp, is set up and the future endeavours of Phoebe amongst the godly descendants promises to be engaging.