Book Review: Oh, My, Gods
by Tera Lynn Childs
Dutton Books (Penguin Group), 2008
Recommended for Ages 13+
“Funny and light, this tale is a romance of Olympian proportions.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Teens will love this.” —VOYA
17-year-old Phoebe Castro is a star cross-country athlete. She’s practically guaranteed a full scholarship and a place on the USC track team next year as long as she keeps her grades up and performs well in her next few track meets. But her surefire plans for senior year are turned upside-down when her mother remarries and Phoebe is forced to move halfway across the world to a tiny Greek island. That’s where her new stepfather is headmaster of an ultra-exclusive academy. How exclusive? The students are all descendents of the Greek gods, superpowers included!
Suddenly, her “guaranteed” scholarship seems like a pipe dream. Phoebe, a mere mortal, will have to train ten times as hard just to keep up with her godly classmates, in both academics and athletics—and that’s only if she manages to survive her stepsister Stella’s sabotage attempts and overcome her major crush on gorgeous bad-boy Griffin Blake.
This funny and enjoyable novel uniquely combines sports, mythology and romance. Greek mythology buffs will especially enjoy it, though you don’t need to be familiar with mythology to appreciate the story. Phoebe endures some of the most common trials and tribulations known to adolescents—coming to terms with her mother’s remarriage and her new stepfamily, leaving her best friends behind, being the new kid in school, managing a burgeoning romance, and planning for life after high school. The added element of Greek mythology is a clever and original twist on the familiar high school drama/fish-out-of-water scenario.
Phoebe is a smart, strong and sassy heroine, and the book’s first-person-narrative will grab readers. Phoebe’s passion and commitment to her sport is inspiring—even to an extremely non-athletic type like myself:
“I feel myself burst through the wall, demolishing it with a mental sledgehammer. Energy—or adrenaline or endorphins—flows through me and all my pain fades away.
My leg muscles tighten for a second to let me know they’re back in action. I feel my feet pound the dirt path. My lungs fill with oxygen and I’m not racked with crippling pain anymore. It’s like I’ve just started the race instead of almost finishing.”
That being said, some of the plot elements seemed contrived—for instance, I found it hard to believe that Phoebe’s mother would uproot her daughter’s life just nine months before high school graduation. Although the novel comes to a predictable end, it is an appealing and satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended for readers ages 13 and up.
I’m definitely looking forward to reading Goddess Bootcamp, the recently published sequel to Oh, My, Gods.