Shana Norris is the author of Something to Blog About, a Book Sense Summer 2008 pick. Also by
Gr 6-10-Shana Norris's novel (Amulet Books, 2009) is a fun, contemporary version of Homer's The Iliad. Cassie Prince, outcast younger sister of two very cool Troy High School dudes, Hunter and Perry, is drawn into a war between her high school, the home of the Trojans football team, and her best friend Greg's school, Lacede High, the home of the Spartans football team. When their school districts are redrawn, forcing former Spartan students, including the beautiful Elena Argos, to leave their friends at Lacede High to join the Trojans, trouble ensues. Elena, former girlfriend of Greg's brother, Lucas, falls for Perry and becomes the instigator of a rivalry between the two suitors. Their animosity spills over into an interschool prank war that becomes dangerous. Cassie, caught between loyalty to her brothers and her feelings for Greg, wants nothing to do with the rivalry, but can't seem to find her way out without betraying someone. Khristine Hvam's narration matches the breezy tone of Norris's tale, giving Cassie a believable and distinct teen voice. As she runs the gamut of emotions from upbeat to downtrodden to betrayed, Cassie's voice rings true. Teens familiar with mythology will be able to pick up the correlations to the epic tale, but even those who have no frame of reference will enjoy this contemporary story of romance and rivalry. A fun listening experience that may spark deeper conversations.-Jessica Miller, West Springfield Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Based on the Iliad, Norris's story trades the animosity between the city-states of Troy and Sparta for a longstanding gridiron rivalry between the Troy High Trojans and Lacede High Spartans. Narrator and Troy student Cassie is best friends with Greg, sophomore class president at Lacede. When school district lines are redrawn, a number of Lacede students, including the beautiful Elena, have to attend Troy. There Elena falls for Cassie's brother Perry and dumps Greg's brother, Lucas, who is devastated and swears revenge on Troy. The football teams and cheerleaders engage in a series of pranks (there's even an exploding horse at the homecoming dance), and Elena befriends outsider Cassie for reasons that are not fully clear, since Elena is a cheerleader and thus immediately popular. Cassie's crush on Greg and her budding friendship with Elena all progress predictably, leaving little in the way of surprises. Norris's (Something to Blog About) prose is breezy, and playful references to the Iliad (footballer Ackley has sustained an ankle injury) entertain. But they're not enough to elevate the story beyond its promising premise. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.