Saturday, 28 April 2012

Goddess Girls: Athena the Brain by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

Title: Goddess Girls: Athena the Brain
Author: Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Published by: Little Brown
Publication date: 3rd May 2012
Pages: 176
Genres: Children's/Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Buy the book
Meet the girls of Mount Olympus Academy...

Brainy Athena has never fit in at Triton School, but who would've guessed that's because she's actually a goddess? Zeus's daughter, to be exact.

So when she's summoned to Mount Olympus Academy, Athena thinks that she might fit in for the first time in her life. But school on Mount Olympus is not that different from down on earth. Will Athena be able to deal with Medusa, the baddest mean girl in history?

 A brand new tween series following the adventures of goddess girls-in-training Athena, Persephone. Aphrodite and Artemis at Mount Olympus Academy.

Goddess Girls is a wonderful take on the story of the Greek gods and goddesses! The story kind of reminds me of Harry Potter - a girl finds out she is a Goddess and is whisked away to a magical boarding school.

I love how all of the well known Greek gods and goddesses go to the same school (Mount Olympus Academy) - it's fascinating to think about how Medusa, Poseidon and Aphrodite might have acted when they were younger.

The characters are well developed and likable (except Medusa and her sisters, of course!). My favourite characters except Athena, the main character, are Pallas - Athena's mortal friend - and Aphrodite. When Athena left to attend Mount Olympus Academy, I felt sorry for Pallas as she had lived with Athena for her whole life and they must have been like sisters. I liked Aphrodite because she looked after Athena when she started her new school.

The best thing about this book is that the authors have mixed old myths with modern times. For example, Athena and her friends try out for the Mount Olympus cheer leading squad, and the goddesses love fashion and music just like most of the teen majority these days.

I recommend this book to children aged 8+ - maybe to children who just want a good story, or maybe who want to know a little more about Greek mythology but in a child-friendly way. 4/5 - a point deducted as it's not exactly my age range but it's still very enjoyable! :)
Monday, 9 April 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Published by: Electric Monkey
Publication date: 6th February 2012
Pages: 464
Genres: Young Adult/War
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

I have two weeks. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That's what you do to enemy agents. It's what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine - and I will do anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I'm going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France - an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

I really didn't think this would be my kind of book. I don't usually read books set in the war era, so when it arrived through the post to review, I gave it to my mum as she said she was happy to review it for me as a guest review. After she read it, she strongly recommended it to me, saying that I really should give it a try and that it was really interesting. So I read it, and my mum was right - it is fantastic!

It's set in the second world war, from the point of view of two women in the WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force). Eventually, they go their separate ways, with one woman going to the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) to be an Air Transport Pilot and the other was chosen to become a SOEA (Special Operations Executive Agent.)

There were some spectacular plot twists, especially near the end. I didn't want to put the book down! It was a fascinating insight into women's roles in the war. I never knew about the ATA or the WAAF before so it taught me something new - it sparked my curiosity. It was a very interesting and exciting story, because you never knew what was going to happen. There were lots of sad, moving parts, but I won't say what they are as that will spoil the story. It was a fantastically written book, really well researched - the author is a pilot herself so she knew enough to make the book plausible.

It was really interesting to read about the French Resistance and how they helped the English. They were just normal people who did an incredibly brave thing - if they had been caught, they would be killed or tortured.

Half of the story is told by Julie, who is an British spy caught in Nazi-occupied France. She is imprisoned by the Gestapo. The story is a report written by her to SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden, with 'facts' about the British War Effort. The second half is told by her best friend Maddie, who is not only English, but also Jewish. Therefore she is hiding in a French Resistance barn waiting to rescue Julie.

I loved this book! It's the best story I've read in a while. 5/5! I recommend this to readers aged 12+, as there is some strong language and descriptions of torture.