Athena the Brain by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams is book one of the Goddess Girls series; the back cover says it’s for children aged eight to twelve. Every time I go visit a bookstore, checking out the Goddess Girls series has been customary to me; that act means it’s got me interested and I’m considering buying it. And why wouldn’t I? The books’ covers and the synopses tell you that the series is about gods and goddesses going to school made especially for them. And the covers are really cute.
Okay, honestly, it reminds me of Harry Potter, where wizards go to wizard school. It reminds me of House of Night too, a book where vampyres go to vampyre school. (Yes, it’s spelled with a “Y.”) Anyway, two months ago, there was one day when I was a little down, and as one of my stress relievers is shopping for books, I didn’t hesitate to buy the first book of the series. (I forgot what was bothering me then, which is a good thing, I think.)
What did I think about it? It was good; I liked it. It was a fast read — finished it in a day, plus two chapters of another book. And while I was reading it, I still couldn’t help but compare it to Harry Potter. Here are examples: Athena (Harry Potter) receives a letter from the school’s principal, Zeus (Dumbledore), informing her that she is truly a goddess (wizard) and must go to his school, Mount Olympus Academy (Hogwarts). She is fetched by Hermes (Hagrid) and brought to school by a winged chariot (the train on Platform 9¾). In school, she meets her new friends, Aphrodite, Artemis, Persephone, and Pandora (Ron and Hermione), as well as the meanest student in school, Medusa (Malfoy). However, despite all the comparisons I’ve been making, I honestly liked Athena the Brain, and when you do decide to read the book, you’ll find it isn’t exactly like Harry Potter anyway. Sometimes, I just love comparing things to Harry Potter, the first fantasy book I fell in book-love with.
The synopsis says the authors “put a modern spin on classic myths,” and I liked the way they did it — it was really entertaining and fun to read. My favorite part was Hero-ology class where the students were given each a mortal hero, and their task was to give their heroes a quest on earth and guide them. Athena’s hero, of course, was Odysseus.
Overall, I liked Athena the Brain, but not enough to immediately read the second book, Persephone the Phony; but I will, maybe someday. Anyway, I would end this by saying I’d recommend the book to kids — as it is, after all, written for them — and for everyone who, like me, enjoys children’s books too much.
Athena the Brain by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams is the first book in the Goddess Girls series and was published in 2010.