HarperCollins/Clarion. (Myth of Monsters: Bk 1). Feb. 2024. 288p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063303744.
Gr 3-6–Ava Baldwin, 12, is tired of being bullied by Owen and loses her cool; her dark hair pops out like snakes and suddenly he’s literally frozen. The next morning, her mother sends Ava and her brother Jax to the exclusive school she attended in Venice. The school is run by the Olympians, and incoming students must be tested to know which mythological Greek monster they are descended from. When Ava finds out she is related to Medusa (who is still alive), she embarks on an adventure with her friends—a Harpy, a Chimera, and an Empusa—to uncover the true story of Medusa, give voice to the goddesses who have been silenced by male gods, and perhaps find her own purpose. While this story fits into the increasingly popular modernized mythology trope, it puts a different spin on it from the perspective of the “villains” and will appeal to a younger audience. However, the theme of women being oppressed by the male gods is presented in such a didactic manner that it detracts from the powerful message. Medusa is described as black-haired with her skin glowing golden brown; Ava is depicted as having the same skin color in the cover illustration. Many other characters are described as pale-skinned when appearance is mentioned. Missing is additional information about Greek mythology, the monsters, and Medusa.
VERDICT A story flipping traditional mythology and the voices telling them on their head starring a resourceful, brave Gorgon. Suggested where mythology stories are popular.

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