For the first installment of “Reading what the students read,” I chose the first book in Rick Riordan’s series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Lightning Thief.

Statistics
Book checkouts: 9
Series checkouts: 38
Typical reader: Upper elementary student, either gender

Synopsis: “Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
“Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.”

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars

Wow!  This is one of those novels where I can actually say, “I see why it’s popular!”  The writing is strong, the plot unique and catchy, the action nonstop, and the characters well-rounded.  It’s a story that captures the reader and doesn’t let them go until the tale is completely resolved.  There really wasn’t a dull moment.

One of the highlights of the book for me was trying to figure out who each god or monster was before the narrative actually revealed its identity.  It’s great fun to catch the hints.  Riordan also has been quite clever in bringing the Greek pantheon to the 21st century, trading in battle chariots for motorcycles and magical helmets for baseball caps.  This series has gotten a lot of kids interested in Greek and Roman mythology – always a good thing.

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