S. & S./Atheneum. Mar. 2023. 400p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781665906197.
Gr 8 Up–The tale of the Greek goddess Arachne from her perspective. As a young girl in the market, Arachne hears the whispers of the villagers when they say she has no future, that she is strange and unattractive. It is this day that leads Arachne to the loom with her mother to eventually become an expert weaver, just like the goddess Athena. Years later, though the experience in the market still haunts her, Arachne’s life is full: her mother is her friend and mentor; she enjoys the company of a neighborhood girl, Celandine; she loves her younger brother; and her father is noticing her growing talent with the loom. Tragic events lead Arachne and Celandine to the city of Colophon, and it isn’t long before people speaking of Arachne’s extraordinary tapestries. But a life-changing mistake is made when she challenges Athena and claims to be an even better weaver than the goddess. Caprara’s novel-in-verse gives Arachne’s tale the texture it needs to keep readers engaged. Her frustration and anger towards the gods’ unwillingness to show her mercy in multiple aspects of her life is palpable. Greek myths are seamlessly woven into the text as stories from Arachne’s mother, which greatly impact Arachne’s feelings. The pacing is perfect, starting off slowly and building to the exciting climax of Arachne’s competition with Athena. Arachne also struggles with romantic feelings for Celandine, which aren’t expressed until the eleventh hour. Instances of sexual assault are briefly described.
VERDICT Captivating. Readers who enjoy mythology will devour this novel.

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