Young Readers: Hennesy Scores With New Series
Pandora Gets Vain
By Carolyn Hennesy
Bloomsbury, 2009, $14.95
Pandora Gets Jealous
By Carolyn Hennesy
Bloomsbury, 2009, $14.99
Zombie Queen of Newbury High
By Amanda Ashby
Speak (Penguin Group), 2009, $7.99
Carolyn Hennesy, soap opera star from "General Hospital," has overcome many of my prejudicial emotions about shallow television personalities.
Hennesy has penned (keyboarded?) a fantastic new young adult series with her "Pandora Gets" books.
With Greek mythology as the backdrop, Hennesy meshes a teen's personality with the story of Pandora's box. Teens and preteens love stories where the youth has to save the day, and 13-year-old Pandora (called Pandy), along with best friends Iole and Alcie, are ready for the challenge.
Pandy, just as you'd expect from mythology, releases seven evils upon the world. The fresh new twist is that she releases the evils by allowing two of the popular girls at school to handle the box that contains jealousy, vanity, laziness and more.
When Zeus charges Pandy with searching the world for the evils and returning them to the box, Pandy fearfully but maturely accepts the responsibility.
Zeus's wife, Hera, has an insane preoccupation with seeing Pandora fail, and serves as the perfect antagonist for the series. Though she tries to ruin Pandy with raging storms, attacking peacocks and deceitful meetings, she's continually thwarted by her own evil. Young readers will especially rejoice in her failure to destroy the youth.
This series is excellent extension reading for classes studying Greek mythology, as most of the gods and goddesses are woven throughout the stories.
Young readers will be enjoying the story so much, they'll not realize how much they're learning about mythology.
Rated Prude Review PG for mysticism and near-death action scenes.
"Zombie Queen of Newbury High," by Amanda Ashby, pays tribute to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" by means of repeated mentions in the book.
If your teen liked the television series, perhaps he or she will enjoy "Zombie Queen." Most teens will be turned off by the vampy book cover and zombie references, but preteens may be enticed to read the story just because they're preteens.
The story centers around high schooler Mia, who isn't popular, but is soaring after being asked to the prom by football player Rob. Mia struggles with shaky self-esteem; in an effort to secure Rob's affections, she gets a strange old lady at a strip mall to cast a spell to ensure Rob's devotion. The spell has wider implications, though, and everyone in Mia's class at school morphs into zombies, with Mia as the zombie queen.
If the overview of the book sounds contrived, try reading the story. The author must make so many references to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" because she borrows so much of her material from the show.
Rated PG for zombies, using the Lord's name in vain continuously and glorification of shallowness in young women. Or perhaps it's PG for "particularly grievous."
Contact Southern Pines writer Charlene Vermeulen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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