Monday, June 6, 2011
You Won't Abandon This Book!
I know a lot of people discount Meg Cabot as writing girlie books like the Princess Diaries series, but she's got a lot more going for her (and there was nothing wrong with the Princess Diaries!). While she still has a plucky sense of humor, she can tackle a more serious story with style and flair. I picked up Abandon after a cousin and fellow YA enthusiast recommended it, and I am glad I listened to her! I read it in one day and didn't want to do anything until I finally finished.
When Pierce's grandfather died, she found a bird that was hurt, and in trying to save it, she scared it and it flew into a crypt and died. A strange man appeared in the cemetery and brought the bird back to life. She was seven. At the age of 15, she tried to save another bird in her pool, but instead she tripped over her own scarf, bonked her head, and fell into the pool int he middle of winter. Tangled in the pool cover, she sunk to the bottom of the pool and drowned. Next thing she knew, she was being shuffled into one of two lines, waiting for a boat. She didn't understand what was happening to her, and neither did the other people around her. When a man rode in on a terrifying horse, she instantly recognized him as the man from the cemetery who brought the bird back to life. Comforted by the sight of him, she got his attention. When he asked if she wanted to escape the terrifying place and dry off, she eagerly agreed. What she didn't realize was she had just agreed to spend eternity with a Death Deity.
While John wasn't quite Hades, he served the same purpose. He was like a captain to Hades, ushering people to their final resting (or not so resting) place at one of the many Gates to the Underworld. When Pierce realizes he means for her to be trapped there (as his Persephone), she throws her tea in his face and takes off. She manages to escape the underworld, but not without the incredible necklace John gave her. She is revived and wakes up from her "Near Death Experience"(NDE), but Pierce will never be the same.
After the NDE, Pierce's parents divorced, she continued to draw away from everyone, and after almost killing her teacher (well in all fairness he was a creeper and it was John who tried to kill him), her mother decides to leave Connecticut and take her to the Florida Keys where she grew up. Life on the island is no easier, because now Pierce sees John everywhere. She also suspects something strange is going on about the island. Pierce is determined to protect the people she loves, but the problem is, she may be wrong in her assumptions about who is really after her.
I love, love, love stories about or connected to mythology. I loved Rick Riordan's series' about Greek, Roman, and Egyptian Gods, and I loved this story. I think the thing that makes me love it even more than the interesting Hades and Persephone connection might be the main character, Pierce. She is totally my kind of girl. She doesn't always get things right, is fiercely loyal without really thinking things through, and has kind of a big mouth (she actually yells at a Death Deity!). I love a girl who ends up in the Underworld but is only concerned with how the other people around her feel.
The writing is simple with very mild content and language. Besides creepy Furies, this book is very tame. I think it would be a great book for any middle school through low-skilled or short-attention span high school student. It's brevity will help a student get through the story in a decent time period, but still feel like they just finished a fun book. There is a second to Pierce and John's story heading out soon, so don't forget about the Underworld too quickly!