I will be using this blog to review some of the books that I read so sorry to those of you who are not interested in Children's literature; you can just skip these posts.
For those of you who are interested, I read The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan this weekend. Browsing through the boostore, this book did not appeal to me at all. I knew it was about a boy who is sent on a hero's quest after he finds out his father is a Greek god. I have never been interested in Greek mythology so I just didn't think that I could get into this kind of fantasy especially after seeing the book cover with Greek monsters all over it.
I finally decided to check this book out after hearing all the pre-Newbery buzz from people who thought it should win. It won two cuffies (The award given by children's booksellers): Our Vote to Win the Newbery- Honorable mentions: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan ("Because something fun, fantastic and fabulous should win. Can we please give death, divorce and other social tensions a year off?") and Favorite Book to Handsell- The Lightning Thief ("because every customer between 9 and 14 can't be wrong") .
I read the first few pages at the library and I was hooked. Riordan draws in readers like me, who are not interested in Greek mythology, by beginning with a realistic modern setting. The main character, Percy, is a 12-year-old boy at a private school for troubled kids. Percy doesn't have a lot of friends, is picked on by bullies, struggles in school with his ADHD, and has an awful step-dad. Readers immediately begin to root for him as an underdog. By the time he starts getting attacked by monsters and Percy's mother sends him to Camp Half Blood (a camp for kids who are half-mortal half-god) the reader is sucked into Percy's adventure without any struggle to accept the fantasy side of the story.
Riordan cleverly adapts the ancient Greek world to a modern American setting which enables the reader to relate more with the book (the underworld is accessed through a recording studio in LA and Mount Olympus floats above the Empire State Building in New York, where it can be accessed by a special elevator. He even explains some modern heros and villians as demigods like Percy, who have special strengths they inherited from their parents). I also really enjoyed his witty chapter titles.
The conclusion was satisfying, but it clearly left the door open for a sequel, and I can't wait to get my hands on it.