Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan


I recommend this book for: grade 5 and up

This is quite possibly the best teen book I've read this year - and I have a lot of favorites. Twelve-year old Percy Jackson, a student with ADD, dyslexia, and a bit of an attitude problem, begins to notice strange things happening to him. For example, his algebra teacher tries to kill him on a field trip, and that's just the beginning. Percy (short for Perseus) is a half-blood - the son of an ancient Greek god and a mortal woman, and that means he has inherited the abilities of the mythical heroes, as well as their aptness to be attacked by monsters. Percy's mother manages to get him safely to Camp Halfblood, where the children of the gods learn the skills they need to survive in their world, a mixture of the ancient and modern civilizations.

Unfortunately for Percy, he's at the center of controversy even among other halfbloods. Zeus is furious that his lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. With his friends Grover (a satyr) and Annabeth (a daughter of Athena), Percy goes on a quest to retrieve the bolt and convince Zeus that he's not such a bad guy after all. On the way they meet with other gods and monsters and find out what they're up to, which results in hilarious scenes. For example, Dionysus has finally been cut off by Zeus, and he's reduced directing the camp and slurping soda instead of reveling in groves all the time.

Percy's narrative voice is hilarious, as can be guessed just from glancing at the chapter titles: "A God Buys Us Cheeseburgers," "I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom," etc. I used this book for the first meeting of a middle school book club at my branch, and 6 young teens came - a respectable number for any teen program here, especially one that doesn't involve electronics- and amazingly, 4 (yes, 4!) of them were boys! Middle school boys like this book enough to show up and talk about it! Yes!

Don't believe me? Read legitimate reviews of this book.

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