Wednesday, February 18, 2009

REVIEW: Oh.My.Gods

Childs, T.L. (2008). Oh. My. Gods. New York: Penguin Group.


Phoebe, a high school senior and runner, is uprooted from her home, friends, and college plans, when her mother decides to marry a headmaster of a prestigious school on a remote Greek island and move them there. On the journey, Phoebe learns that her new stepfather, stepsister and all of her soon-to-be fellow students are descended from Greek gods. Phoebe will have to battle hoaxes, secrets, discrimination, cliques, insults about her ‘bad’ blood (Harry Potter, anyone?), pop quizzes, Secrets, too much homework, uncertainty if she’ll be able to continue running and get a scholarship to her dream college, SECRETS and liking a popular boy who seems to hate her.

It was a decent feminist narrative as far as teen romance novels go. Phoebe is strong, motivated and hardworking. While she seems to be attracted to a complete jerk for most of the story, engages in catty fights with other girls and is happiest when involved with a boy, she still manages to fight her own battles. That alone goes beyond many other romantic narratives teen girls enjoy.

I found myself strangely engaged with this book. Granted, I love fantasy and I love myth. While containing many of the contrived plot constructions of romantic narratives (such as bets on characters trying to get others to like them, a male best friend who’s secretly in love with the girl, etc.) I still managed to be surprised by one or two of the directions Oh.My.Gods went. Plus, I totally love the idea of wandering around, threatening to smote people. But that’s me.

On a side note, I usually have no shame when it comes to wandering around my city, getting caught reading trashy (or even beautifully written) teen and children's books.  But something about the cover image of this book made me take off the dust jacket before venturing out with the book.  In theory, it's cute.  It's related to the topic of the book.  I don't think my problem is just the naked statue.  I think it was the naked statue in full light, combined with the pink, combined with the title that made me feel slightly ridiculous to be reading this book.  And I am secure in my geekdom.  So, please, Ms. Childs and Penguin Group publishers, don't be insulted when readers take off the dust jacket.  And maybe consider lecturing your marketing department.  I'm telling I'd lost all sense of shame until I looked at this book cover.  What do you think?  Would you be caught reading a book with this cover?

Slight spoiler (if you can make sense of it)-- This book deals well with the outsider experience. That is, until the end, when the outsider turns out to be an insider. Yeah. While I saw it coming, it still annoyed me.

Your pal in smoting!

Activities to do with the book:

This, along with some of the other young adult romance novels, could be used in a genre or theme study in the context of book club.

This book could be used to discuss genres. While combining myth and fantasy, it also has fairy tale elements.

This is also a lighter book to recommend to a student who is dealing with a new step-family, since several of Phoebe’s key problems involve the memory of her dead father, and dealing with her new step-father and step-sister. This is also a good book for a young adult student preparing for college who is concerned about being separated from her best friends. It helps to show friendships can survive distance and changes in plans.

Oh.My.Gods also provides some information on lesser known Greek gods and philosophy that could trigger a teen to pursue some further reading and *gasp* maybe even some research.

Favorite Quotes

“When I’m running I can almost feel my dad at my side” (p. 3).

“All the students at the Academy…are, ah-hem, descends of the gods” (p. 31).

“Just like him: Brief, cryptic and full of crap” (p. 194).


  1. I wonder if the author was inspired by The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. I'm actually in the middle of The Lightning Thief right now and I'm finding it wonderfully fast paced and adventurous. Maybe you can review it at some point (if you haven't already and I just missed it).

  2. I love that book!!!! I haven't reviewed it. I read it before I thought of starting this blog. I hope to read the rest of the series at some point in the near future.

    Enjoy the end of the book!



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