Persephone the Phony
Author: Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Source: ARC from author
Who I Told I’d Read It: the author, at KidLitCon 09
Persephone is well-known as a sweet, easy-going girl who never causes trouble. But that's all on the outside. On the inside, she's a seething mass of opinions that she never dares to let out. She feels like a gigantic phony.
Then she meets Hades. Cute, smart, and he likes her a lot. Persephone likes him back, a lot. Her friends and her overprotective mother all say he's bad news, but this time, Persephone the Phony is just going to have to disagree.
It's a good time of day to sit out by the pool and attempt to get a little color on my legs, which have been known to blind unwary onlookers. But this being the desert, I picked a book that was short enough I wouldn't turn the color of a stoplight. Remember how I said Persephone the Phony looked more promising than Athena the Brain? I'm glad to report that my instinct held true. This book carried on with all the things I liked about the first book, like the riffs on mythology, the cute puns, and the lighthearted feel, and fixed most of the things I didn't, like the lack of strong conflict and character development.
That's not to say it's a particularly meaty book. Hades' bad reputation boils down to little more than being from the Underworld and hanging out in the principal's office (which, we discover, is nothing more sinister than it being the only place he feels comfortable eating lunch). Persephone's conflict with her mother and friends is easily smoothed over, and even the bullyboy Ares is defanged after a blink-and-you'll-miss-it confrontation at a school dance. Persephone's final conclusion, that it's best to balance the go-along attitude with standing your ground, seems to fall into place like a math equation.
Still, if you're looking for an airy snack of a book to feed kids ravenous for more Greek mythology, this book might fit the bill. Just make sure you have something more to toss them in an hour or two.
ETA: My ARC didn't have the cover for this book, just the first. I can't get over this cover. Look how cute they are! Awwwww.