Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo)

The Hidden Oracle
by Rick Riordan

From the publisher:

"How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favour.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go... an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood."

I know this is a blasphemous statement to a lot of people, but I'm not a Rick Riordan fan. I read Percy Jackson and thought it was "meh", so I never read any more of his books. However, one of my students promised this one was amazing, so I tackled it. I ended up annoyed with the constant need to be cute and witty. It seemed way over the top. And it seems like the humor is aimed at the wrong audience. There are so many of the quips and one-liners that will go way over the heads of the target readers. Granted, I chuckled at some of them. "A penguin and a nun walk into a Shake Shack"...... come on, that's amusing. However, my middle school students would have no idea what that even means. 
It probably didn't help that I haven't read the entire Percy Jackson collection and didn't know or couldn't remember who most of the people were. 
I really didn't like Apollo, and when the main character annoys the heck out of you, it is hard to enjoy the book. I thought his constant talk of his past lovers (male and female) was totally inappropriate for this age group as well. 
So now that I have made the attempt twice, may I please be released from reading any more of this author? I will leave that to my students, who can't get enough or Rick Riordan no matter how prolific of a writer he is. Middle school students - enjoy! Adults - take a pass. No, wait, I know a lot of adults who love Rick Riordan, so if that is you - definitely read it.

Areas of concern:
*Above mentioned talk of Apollo's past lovers, both heterosexual and homosexual.
*Teenage love stories abound - both heterosexual and homosexual.

Suggested Ages:
Booklist - Grades 5-8
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 12-17

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