The Hidden Oracle

384p. (Trials of Apollo: Bk. 1). ebook available. Disney-Hyperion. May 2016. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781484732748.
Gr 5 Up—Riordan's many fans will be thrilled with this return to the world of Percy Jackson and friends. Apollo has had his godly powers taken away by Zeus as a punishment for events in the previous series. Not only is Apollo now human but he's also a 16-year-old boy with acne and flab. The first-person narration is full of comments about the indignity of his new appearance and limited abilities, which adds to the humor of his often dark adventures. The story opens as Apollo falls to Earth and lands in a dumpster where he is attacked by a pair of street toughs. He's rescued by Meg McCaffrey, a new demigod who claims Apollo's service in his quest to redeem himself. Apollo and Meg recruit Percy Jackson to help them travel to Camp Half-Blood, where Apollo hopes to find help, but when they reach the camp, they learn about new threats against all the demigods. The protagonist discovers that he must restore prophecy by finding the hidden Grove of Dodona, which is the first step in defeating the newly revealed evil masterminds who are trying to destroy him. Riordan's characters continue to be an impressively diverse group, and he includes same-sex relationships between characters and has Apollo frankly discuss his bisexuality, which will be welcomed in libraries looking for books with positive portrayals of nonheteronormative relationships and families.
VERDICT This latest has Riordan's signature wry narration, nonstop action, and mythology brought to life. A must-buy for libraries serving tweens and teens.

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