Thursday, February 28, 2013


P.J. Hoover
Tor Teen, 2013
$17.99, Hardcover

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Mythology
Age: 14+
Description: Piper’s world is slowly dying. She has never known anything different. She’s lived with her mother her whole life—her overprotective mother. In Piper’s future world global warming has gone extreme. Each day brings hotter and hotter temperatures (104 is considered a “cool” day) and horrible heat storms that bring devastating heat bubbles threaten to wreak havoc on the world’s cities. Luckily, she lives in Austin, Texas, where her community is one of the first to practice utilizing gigantic glass domes that can rise up and cover the cities when such a storm comes. On Piper’s 18th birthday her world begins to change. Her mother actually leaves her alone for the first time ever as she goes to see Piper’s father who wants the right to visit her (but her mother strongly is opposed to this). When she is gone Piper is courted by two very different boys: Shayne the quintessential “good” boy and Reese, the “bad” boy. Piper doesn’t understand what is going on until her best friend, who suffers horrible heat strokes, almost dies and Piper wishes badly for her to live. As it turns out, Shayne is really Hades of Greek mythology, Reese is his mortal enemy, Ares, and Piper’s mother has a lot of explaining to do because Piper herself is a goddess of Greek mythology. Soon Piper is caught up in the middle of a battle that has been raging for eons and she just might hold the key to Earth’s survival.
Opinion: First of all, I love the cover! It is beautiful. This is a book that I wanted to love but hated at the same time. What starts off for the first 100 or so pages as an awesome global warming dystopian world turns into another typical YA book that when the plot is boiled down it is a girl torn between two boys. In this case, the girl, Piper, is actually a goddess from Greek mythology (Persephone) and the boys are Hades and Reese. How come all the gods and angels and male fairies and other supernatural creatures in YA are always stereotypical “super hot” guys? Why can’t be have an awesome nerd boy! *Sigh* I read this book the same time as Isaac, one of my teens, read it and I was surprised he really enjoyed it. Since he is pretty conservative I was sure the romance aspects would disturb him. I was cringing at the “tingly” sensations the boys were causing in Piper just thinking, “OMG, Isaac is reading this right now!” Luckily, he looked past it and enjoyed it. Sadly, though, I didn’t enjoy it as much as he did. I loved the dystopian elements and the Greek mythology was alright too but I hated how it turned into a love triangle story. I wish I could have seen more of Piper’s best friend, Chloe, as Piper, as a main character, was a selfish, whiney brat. I can understand her frustration at being tucked away from her whole life by her mother who won’t let her out of her sight or even date but Piper was not a strong heroine. She has no trouble leading both boys on and getting sexual with them before she knows that Shayne is supposed to be her soul mate. Most of the relationships are based on nothing but greed and selfishness called “love”. Piper denies Chloe entrance to Elysian (heaven) because she can’t bear to be alone on Earth. Ares probably isn’t really interested in Piper—he is just the god of war so making trouble is what he does. Piper’s dad, Zeus, is totally aloof. Piper’s mother is a demon. The big twist is that her mother is the one responsible for the horrid conditions on Earth because she couldn’t bear for her daughter to be away from her during winter. So she purposefully makes the Earth a perpetual summer and kills her daughter and resurrects her as a new child to grow up without memories of her heritage all so she won’t be alone. However, the Greek gods were known to be a selfish bunch that essentially used humans as playthings so maybe their portrayals are accurate. In the end, this book made me want to keep reading for the dystopian aspects but then once the love triangle parts come into play I wanted to throw the book across the room. Most teens loving dystopian, romance, paranormal, and mythology will devour it. I don’t know if Hoover plans on a sequel though . . . this was originally self-published and her next book slated for release isn’t related at all. The book ends but it leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

Here’s what some of my teens had to say:

Isaac, 15, says, “Solstice is a book full of action and adventure that is easy to read even for those who do not like reading. The plot is a story of love and hate evenly placed throughout. The main themes of a future dystopian world ravaged by extreme temperatures will appeal to dystopian fans while the Greek mythology will appeal to Percy Jackson fans. I felt the cover represented Piper’s world nicely and corresponded with the story so the reader wasn’t distracted while reading worrying about why the cover doesn’t match instead of enjoying the story. I really liked the Greek gods idea which was like the Percy Jackson books but placed in a dystopian setting. It made the book different from others."

Haley, 17, says, “I thought the cover looked really interesting. I think it reflected Piper’s world really well.  The most compelling part of the book was how Piper (aka Persephone) lost her memory. However, I thought it was dull and boring.”

Kayla, 13, says, “The cover was fantasmic! It really reflected the dystopian part of the book and the world that Piper was forced to grow up in. Sadly, though, it was also misleading. I thought I was in for an epic dystopian environmental tale and it would be action-packed and maybe Piper would need to save the world or something. The cover revealed nothing about the plot turning into a horrid love triangle. The cover was the most compelling aspect of the book and maybe the first few chapters. Once the “good boy versus bad boy” aspect comes into play it all went downhill. I was highly disappointed in a very large aspect of the book. It had an amazing cover and it started out with a really interesting future Earth but in a matter of a few chapters it lost all its epicness. It is just bad. Really. Really. Bad. And all because the author took a really strong dystopian idea, mixed in Greek mythology is a cool way, and then decided to ruin it with the copout of another horrid teen love triangle! I was very disappointed! No, just no. I tried to finish it. I really wanted to in hopes that maybe it would get better, but I just couldn’t bring myself to commit the time to it and I moved on.”

*Thanks to Juliet Pederson-Klug at Tor Teen for providing an ARC of this title for the YA Galley Group project!*

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