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Title: Cassandra the Lucky (Goddess Girls #12) | Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams | Publication Date: December 3, 2013 | Publisher: Aladdin | Pages: 257 | Recommended Ages: 8+ | Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Summary: Meet Cassandra, the newest student at Mount Olympus Academy! She has an amazing talent—but will her new friends believe her? This Goddess Girls story is based on the myth of Cassandra, who has the gift of seeing the future—except no one believes her. Can Apollo, the god of prophecy, help his new crush?
1. What is the book about? The book is about a girl named Cassandra who is a mortal but is able to tell the future, but nobody believes her because of the curse Apollo put on her. Cassandra decides to send fortunes to Mount Olympus Academy so that it messes them up because she’s mad at them for the Trojan War. So the Gods and Goddesses come to the Immortal Marketplace to build a magical carousel that Cassandra has foreseen. Athena puts the Trojan horse as one of the animals and Cassandra gets sad and mad.
2. What do you think of the book cover and the images inside the book? There are no images in the book, but I like the cover. The cover makes the book look interesting.
3. What are your favorite parts of the book? There are too many things to like about it but I’ll give a few examples. I like how we get both what Cassandra is thinking and what the Gods and Goddesses are thinking [change in perspective]. An interesting part of the story was how her brother, Helenus can tell the future and everyone believes him and Cassandra tells the exact same future, but no one believes her. It’s unfair. I liked how the Hero-ology is based on a real story except it makes it funny because it’s like a board game for the Gods and Goddesses.
4. Was there anything that you didn’t like or that didn’t make sense? I wish there had been more about the Trojan War so I could understand it better and why Cassandra is upset about it.
5. Which is your favorite God or Goddess? I like two in particular: Athena and Artemis. I like Athena because she is cool and smart and important in the Goddess Girls’ books. I like Artemis because I like archery.
6. Overall, what did you think about the book? I loved, loved, loved it. It’s one of my favorite Goddess Girls books because it has a mortal as a main character and then a mortal and the immortals meet up together. It would be awesome to meet some immortals.
7. Who do you think would like this book? I think girls 7 and older would like this book. It’s awesome! I’ve read all the Goddess Girls books and I loved them all!!!
Daughter Rating: ★★★★★
My Thoughts: In their latest offering in the Goddess Girls book series, Cassandra the Lucky, Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams bring to life once again the myths and legends of Ancient Greece as seen through the eyes of the adolescent Gods and Goddesses of Mount Olympus Academy (MOA). In this story, we are introduced to the story of Cassandra, the Trojan princess who could see the future; but, who is cursed by the God Apollo so that no one believes her prophecies.
Cassandra harbors much resentment and bitterness toward the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus and blames Apollo, Athena, and Aphrodite’s interference in the Trojan war for the fall of Troy. As part of a “payback plan”, Cassandra sends MOA some special fortunes setting forth in motion a series of events, including a book signing by Homer (yes, THE Homer) which leads to utter chaos in the Immortal Marketplace, but also brings her much-needed closure, forgiveness, and a new perspective.
Fans of the Goddess Girls series will be absolutely delighted with this new installment. Holub and Williams have a winning formula bringing together elements of mythology, history, and legend along with a cast of quirky and hip immortals and some quite famous mortals who all experience relationship troubles and a turmoil of emotions that feel precisely like what adolescents in modern times would experience. As I’ve said time and time again: love, love, love any retelling of Greek mythology especially when the stories are written in a way to truly captivate young readers.
In particular, even I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a few references to past books (e.g., how Medusa comes to have snakes for hair and can turn people to stone with her eyes and when Orion steals Artemis’ chariot) as well as the on-going Hero-ology class at MOA where the mortals are at the mercy of the God or Goddess overseeing their fate and destiny. These parts had me laughing out loud (literally).
There is also much for a reader to learn in this cleverly written book. On the obvious side, a young reader will be introduced to some basic Greek mythology as well as Homer, the famous poet who penned the Iliad and the Odyssey. But the authors take this a step even further by educating the reader about the art of poetry. As Athena explains to her friend Pheme about the Iliad, “It’s actually an elongated poem written in dactylic hexameter.” Who knew?!
I was also very pleased when Cassandra rejects the suggestion that boys (i.e., Agamemnon) tease girls to show they like them. Her response:
No way she would ever like a boy like that back, Cassandra thought, totally underwhelmed by this information. Agamemnon was a bully.
“So he’s mean to me because he likes me?” asked Cassandra. “That’s ridiculous. No, wait, it’s worse than that. It’s ridonkulous.”
You go girl! I like this modern Cassandra! The book also has a clear underlying message about forgiveness. For most of the book, Cassandra is intent on bringing harm to the Gods and Goddesses she blames for her misfortunes; but, as she gets to know them, she learns that forgiveness and friendship are the things that truly bring her happiness.
My Bottom Line: Cassandra the Lucky is an absolutely delightful retelling of some classic Greek myths and legends with a contemporary twist. These are not the typical Gods and Goddesses of Olympus filled with wrath and impunity, and famous for meddling in mortals’ lives. These are hip immortal adolescents learning how to use their powers appropriately. In this story, they encounter Cassandra, the Trojan princess and fortune teller within the backdrop of Homer’s famous poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. This book is jam-packed with mythology, legend, rich character development, a clever and engaging plot line as well as important life lessons. I highly recommend the entire Goddess Girls book series to tween girls aged 7 to 13 years. I guarantee they will love it!
* This book was provided to me by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest reviews. All opinions expressed are our own. *