Recommended Age: All Ages
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Tags: Ghosts, Magic, Mythology, Pirates, War
- Mild violence: Some physical fights and threats resulting in injury, with allusions to death and physical abuse.
Percy Jackson has always struggled to fit in. No matter how hard he tries, he can never seem to stay out of trouble. Between his ADHD, dyslexia, and inability to stay in one school for more than a year, he’s resigned himself to being labeled as a bad kid. But then the monsters start attacking him, and he discovers his dad left him with something after all: the power of Poseidon.
Now Percy can truly understand his own strength, but just as he finds a new home with other demigods, he’s framed for stealing Zeus’ master bolt. If there’s anything no 12 year old wants, it’s being held responsible for stealing the god of lightning’s power. He and his new friends journey across the country battling Greek legends and monsters to track down the real thief and recue Percy’s mom before the gods lose patience. And despite their immortality, patience is not their strength.
This series has been on my bookshelf for over a decade now, and still helps me escape from the stress of the world. I was the target age for this book when it first came out but it still resonates with me as an adult and I could not be more excited for the new Disney television adaptation. Every kid should read this series, I’m constantly recommending it. I easily convinced my younger siblings to read it and we can have discussions for hours about the characters, adventures, and mythology. We all want to believe that our differences are what make us special. Maybe we don’t all learn and live the same way, but those qualities are what make us unique. This is exactly the kind of message we get from a series focused on ADHD dyslexic teens (often with at least one absent parent) who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. The stakes are high, with demigods helping the gods keep monsters from overrunning the world. But the humor is light and snarky and fun, making any challenge seem achievable.
Books like this are a fantastic way to help people understand culture and history. Because of Rick Riordan, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology is so much more accessible to a younger generation. This series breaks down Greek myths and legends in a way that anyone can understand, and reflects how Greek culture and history has affected modern civilizations. Poseidon looks like a beach bum. Hades is a pouty younger brother. Medusa owns a sandwich shop with concerning décor. Twelve-year-old kids can defeat monsters and save the world, with nothing but some godly skills, nectar, and an unrelenting sense of sarcasm. This is the perfect series to read during a crisis, because it shows that anyone can be a hero.
The author takes liberties with the mythology, but in a way that is very tongue in the cheek. Learning history and culture is often boring because it takes itself too seriously. Even movies based on these same legends can be eye rollers because everything is too dramatic and over the top. But when the characters are in middle school, struggling with acne and crushes and growth spurts, taking down a few demons and conversing with immortal beings isn’t that much of a stretch. Percy himself is especially defiant of authority, which nearly gets him zapped out of the sky multiple times by his grumpy celestial uncle. But each character shows their inheritance: wisdom from Athena, anger from Ares, or mischief from Hermes. The satyrs love nature and the centaurs love to party.
While Homer might have been scandalized by this modern rendition, it’s just right for this generation.
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