Monday, December 3, 2012

Sweet Venom

Sweet Venom
Tera Lynn Childs
IBSN: 978-0062001818
Katherine Tegan, 2011

Plot Summary: Grace, Gretchen, and Greer are identical triplets who were separated at birth to protect their futures. Turns out all three are descendants of the mortal gorgon, Medusa, and her two immortal sisters who protected humankind from a host of monsters by protecting the veil between the two worlds. Don’t believe the stories of Medusa being an evil being—she just got a bad reputation for her snake hair and piercing glare. Gretchen ran away from an abusive adoptive family and was raised by Ursula from the age of 12 to present day 16. Ursula knew of her destiny (but hid the fact that she has two sisters) and helped train her on monster lore and how to kill them and return them to their world. Grace is a shy A+ student who moves to Los Angeles for a scholarship at a prestigious school. She knows she is adopted along with her brother Thane. She begins to know something isn’t right when she begins seeing monsters among the people of LA. She’s surprised when, at an all ages club, she sees herself fighting one! Gretchen takes Grace under her wing and tells her about the monsters she’s been fighting for years. Grace wants to help when she finds out Ursula’s been kidnapped and the monsters appear to be appearing more often. When the girls investigate their past and learn of the myth and the fact that there is a third sister, they hunt down Greer. Greer, on the other hand, couldn’t be less interested in some supposed destiny. Greer is a bit stuck up and is the socialite who runs her school. She’s got too many commitments to hang out with these two other girls who are clearly off their rockers. She wants them out of her life until the evening when, on a date with her boyfriend, Greer sees a monster emerge from the beach and fights it resulting in the damage of a very expensive shoe. As the three sisters come together they begin to understand their history as descendants of Medusa and their role in protecting humankind from monsters. However, with Ursula kidnapped and the monsters no longer playing by the rules, their lives may be getting a little more complicated.

Critical Evaluation:  This is a great addition to the paranormal world of YA books. Romance is hardly a factor in the plot except for some minor crushes. The awesome part is that the plot is really character driven and based on the three girls’ own individual personalities. Each chapter is told from the point-of-view of one of the sisters (obviously with Greer not appearing until much later in the book) and each voice of the girls is very unique and well-written. Gretchen is an awesome heroine that is reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in that she is independent, smart, resourceful, and can kick some major butt. Even shy Grace can fight and Greer eventually has some skills too. Each of the girls also gets some mythical help—Gretchen is super strong and fast healing, Grace can teleport, and Greer can see the future. This story has strong female characters and gives an interesting take on Medusa’s myth. It ends with a cliffhanger that will make readers desperately want the next volume.

Reader's Annotation: Gretchen, Grace, and Greer all discover that they are triplets separated at birth who are the descendants of Medusa and her sisters, sworn to protect the world of humans from the world of monsters.  

Author Information: Tera Lynn Childs is the award-winning author of the mythology-based Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp, the mermaid tales Forgive My Fins, Fins Are Forever and Just For Fins, and a new trilogy about monster-hunting descendants of Medusa, starting with Sweet Venom and Sweet Shadows (and, continuing in 2013, Sweet Legacy). She has also e-published two fun chick lit romances, Eye Candy and Straight Stalk. Tera lives nowhere in particular and spends her time writing wherever she can find a comfy chair and a steady stream of caffeinated beverages (Childs, 2011).

Genre: Fantasy

Curriculum Ties: Mythology

Booktalking Ideas: Mythology, read a fight scene with Gretchen

Reading Level/Interest Age: 14+

Challenge Issues: Violence

Challenge Defense: If this book were challenged, I would make sure the library has a Challenge Defense File ready for such a situation. Inside the Challenge Defense File, librarians and the public could find:

·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the library’s own selection policy (my library, the La Vista Public Library, has a policy but it is not online so I can’t link to it as an example).
·        A copy of the library’s citizen’s complaint/reconsideration form (my library, the La Vista Public Library’s, form is called the City of La Vista Service Request form).
·        Copies of reviews—both good and bad—from reputable library and publishing services to justify why a book was selected for inclusion in the collection. These include not only reviews from such journals as School Library Journal, VOYA, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, but also any mention of books on YALSA lists and other copies of articles about any awards or nominations such books may have received.
·        Include a short rationale file for other coworkers so if the librarian in charge of selecting materials is not available when a challenge occurs the other staff members have some information to go by (the rational would include such information as a short summary, what could be challenged, reviews, awards and nominations, etc.)
·        Include for staff members a copy of “Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials,” a document written by the American Library Association. Make sure that staff reviews this document periodically so they are prepared and know how to face such situations. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at

Reason for Inclusion: Great paranormal series with strong female characters and limited romance. Purchase entire series.  


Childs, T.L. (2011). Who is Tera? Retrieved from

No comments:

Post a Comment