*Spoiler Alert* The Premise of Goddess Boot Camp includes spoilers for Oh.My.Gods...so by reading any of the review below, you'll be forever spoiled with some of the knowledge of how Oh.My.Gods ends. Kay? Do you feel warned, cause, you have been.
Childs, T.L. (2009). Goddess Boot Camp. New York: Dutton Books.
Appetizer: Set about nine months after the events of Oh.My.Gods, summer has arrived and Phoebe is still having trouble controlling her new-found goddess powers and it would seem the Greek gods have taken notice. Phoebe has two weeks to learn how to control her powers before the gods will test her. To help her, her step-dad has enrolled her in a goddess boot camp, which is tortuous in ways different from most boot camps, since all the other campers are about ten-years-old. On top of that, Phoebe needs to train for the Pythian Games trials, but her running partner and boyfriend, Griffin, may be lying and keeping secrets involving his ex-girlfriend.
So, it's official. I declare Tera Lynn Childs to be evil. Pure evil, in fact. Granted, I've only read two of the young adult novels she's written so far, but she is amazingly skilled at creating horrifying situations for her characters. Horrifying and embarrassing (and FUNNY!). Ms. Childs, please promise to never make me one of your characters. I shudder to think of what hells you would put me through. *shudders*
But having said that, I feel like poor Phoebe may actually have too much to deal with in this book. She's getting mysterious messages from someone who has knowledge of the circumstances of her dad's death, she has a race to prepare for, a lying-boyfriend to deal with, a mean step-sister who's suddenly decided to play nice, a test doled out by the gods to prepare for, a boot camp to attend...wowzers, that's a lot.
But having said that too (I'm in to saying things, it's kinda what I do) most of the various stressors in Phoebe's life are connected. So, while I was reading, it felt like a lot of balls to juggle, but with so many balls, it was easy to get a small sense of the pressure the character was under. You follow?
Moving on, I felt that Childs's prose were clear and occasionally humorous. I really felt that the Greek gods were more of a presence in this book than in the last. That served to give me the feeling that Phoebe's story really is a "Percy Jackson for teenage girls."
Oh.My.Gods to this....
That was a wee bit embarrassing.
An honest-to-goodness goddess.
With superpowers and everything.
Okay, so I'm just a minor, minor, minor goddess. Technically, I'm supposed to say hematheos, which means godly blood, or part god, but goddess sounds much more impressive (to the like ten people I'm allowed to tell)" (p. 3).
"Since we discovered your heritage, the gods have been closely monitoring your dynamotheos progress."
"Dynamotheos," he repeats. "The official term for the powers derived from the gods. They've been observing you--"
"Observing me?" My teeth clench. "Like how?"
I imagine the sneaky gods spying on me in the shower or the locker room or when I'm "studying" with Griffin.
"Circumspectly, I assure you."
"I have already arranged for an alternative training program."
I silently hope that means even more private lessons from Griffin, but I know I'm not that lucky. and Damian's not that considerate of my love life.
"No, not private lessons," he says, proving again that he can read minds. "I have enrolled you in Dynamotheos Development Camp. You begin in the morning" (pp. 12-13).
"But what about the next time? Or the time after that? Or the time after that? If I don't get my powers under control, there's always the chance someone might get hurt."
And I might get smoted for it" (p. 38).
"My first clue that something is very, very wrong is the giggling. It hits me like a wave of endorphins as I pull open the door to the Academy courtyard. Girls giggling. Lots of girls giggling. Lots of young girls giggling.
When I step into the open, I see them huddled in a little giggling mass around a bench in the far corner. There are at least a dozen of them. And they are all, like, ten.
I look desperately around the courtyard for signs of anyone who has successfully survived puberty. No. There is only me and the ten-year-olds" (p. 51).
To Go with the Meal:
While probably best as an individual recommendation, young adult readers can contemplate how Oh.My.Gods and Goddess Boot Camp show Phoebe as a powerful and determined young woman who won't backdown in the face of discrimination or embarrassment.
Also, after reading this book, a young adult may be more willing to admit that sometimes, like Phoebe, they may not know everything and sometimes that means having to take classes with little ten year olds who think French kissing is the grossest thing ever.
Tasty Rating: !!!!