Today I Read…Oh. My. Gods.

Today I read Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs.

Phoebe’s life is going well. She has her two best friends, she’s about to start her last year of high school, and she’s seriously in the running (ha!) for a track scholarship to her first choice of university. Then her mother drops the bombshell that she’s getting married. And they’re moving to Greece. Suddenly she has to deal with living in a new country, an evil stepsister, starting a new school, a stepfather who’s the principal, making new friends, figuring out what’s up with the really cute guy who keeps blowing hot and cold, and…magic?

It turns out that everyone who lives on the island of Serfopoula is descended from the ancient gods, and they come complete with magic powers. Which makes it extremely unfair when Phoebe gets targeted because she isn’t a descendant and can’t do magic. Now she has to make the track team and prepare for the big meet while avoiding all of the nasty magical practical jokes that keep getting played on her.  And pacify her old friends who think she’s hiding things from them. And find out who’s trying to reveal the secret of Serfopoula. Too bad she can’t run away from her problems–shed be good at that.

This is a fairly standard teen book–a parent’s remarriage and fitting into a new place and family; starting a new school, complete with outsider new best friends, a cute guy who seems mean at first and his evil witch of a popular, gorgeous girlfriend; growing apart from old friends; preparing for the transition from high school to university; an intense obsession with a particular hobby. The plot is highly predictable, with Phoebe learning she too is the descendant of a god, that Griffin has a reason for being rude, that it’s okay to not go to the same university as her old friends the way they’ve been planning for years. That said, it’s a fairly solid example of the type. All of the problems included are known as teen problems for a reason–because they happen. Phoebe’s obsession with running gets a little tedious from all of the repetition, but it’s realistic enough for a person with one overriding hobby. After all, I picked this book up because I like mythology.

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“Phoebe,” she says, her voice full of girlish excitement, “there’s someone I want you to meet.”

My heart plummets. I suddenly have a very bad feeling about what she’s going to say. All the signs are there: blushes, smiles, and a male hand. But still, I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. I mean, Mom’s just not the type to date. She’s . . . Mom.

She spends her Friday nights either watching movies with me or poring over client files from her therapy practice. All she cares about are me and her work. In that order. She doesn’t have time for guys.

The guy connected to the male hand steps to Mom’s side.

“This is Damian.”

He’s not a bad looking guy, if you like the older type with dark hair that’s salt-and-peppering at the temples. His skin is tan, making his smile much brighter in contrast. In fact, he looks like a nice guy. So really, I would probably like him if not for the fact that he’s glued to my mom’s side.

“He and I are . . .” Mom giggles—actually giggles! “We’re going to be married.”

“What?” I demand.

“A pleasure to meet you, Phoebe,” Damian says with a subtle accent, releasing Mom’s hand and reaching out to shake mine.

I stare at his hand.

This can’t be happening. I mean, I want to see Mom happy and all, but how can she go off to Greece and come back six days later with a fiancé? How mature is that?

“You’re what?” I repeat.

When he sees I’m not about to shake hands, Damian puts his arm around Mom’s shoulder. She practically melts into his side.

“We’re getting married,” she says again, bubbling over with excitement. “The wedding will be in Greece in December, but we’re having a civil ceremony at City Hall next weekend so Aunt Megan and Yia Yia Minta can be there.”

“Next weekend?” I am so shocked I almost don’t realize the bigger implication. “Wait. How can you get married out of the country in December? I’ll be in school.”

Mom slips her arm around Damian’s waist, like she needs to get even closer to him. Next she’ll be sliding her hand into the back pocket of his pants. No girl should have to watch her mother revert to teenage behavior.

“That’s the most exciting part,” Mom says, her voice edging on near-hysteria with excitement. I know instantly that I’m not going to like what she says. “We’re moving to Greece.”

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