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Monday, January 4, 2010

Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs

Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy
Length: Full Length (261 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by Asphodel

Phoebe, who recently discovered she’s a descendant of Nike (the goddess, not the shoe), is finding that supernatural powers come with a crazy learning curve. Her stepfather, headmaster of the Academy for descendants of the Greek gods, has enrolled her at Dynamotheos Development Camp—aka Goddess Boot Camp—with a bunch of ten-year-olds for the summer. Embarrassing as that is, hopefully it’ll help her gain control over her powers in time to pass the test of the gods, continue training hard enough to qualify for the Pythian Games, and enjoy her godly boyfriend, Griffin, all while avoiding the ultimate mistake of accidentally misusing powers.
It’s another fast-paced myth-inspired heroine’s quest that’s sure to bring out the goddess in anyone.

So what's a girl goddess to do when everything she wants is just a race away? Phoebe is back and has a new challenge of Olympic proportions to master. The question isn't whether she'll win the race, the question--can she win it and control her powers so she doesn't get smote? Between learning to control herself, preparing for a race that's older then the Olympics and holding onto her love life, Phoebe has a lot on her plate and Childs manages to retain that witty narrative tone in this sequel to Oh. My. Gods.

Whereas Phoebe spent the majority of Oh. My. Gods. in the dark about her parentage and feeling like a fish out of water amongst her peers, she spends a lot of this book struggling to do what most teenagers have to accomplish. Her development felt more natural here, as she learns (often the hard way) how to control her powers so she doesn't get the ultimate smack down from the Gods for being reckless.

The romance between she and Griffin moves at a good speed as well. Now that they're both on even ground, more or less, it was fun watching their competitiveness both drive them to be better at their running, but also support each other without reserve. There was never a moment when I felt as if either one would rather the other was less so they could be more.

The race, and the end result, was tense. I could feel how badly Phoebe wanted to win and felt my heart go out to her after everything she went through to get to that point. I never thought she'd use her powers (consciously or otherwise) to win the Pythian Games, but there was that nugget of doubt in my mind that maybe the ultimate lesson for Phoebe would be learning that losing would be okay.

Goddess Boot Camp was as engaging and lively as its predecessor promised it would be. A lot of the character flaws I found in the first book were fixed and a new layer was added to Phoebe's emotional development that I appreciated. Enjoy this second helping of Phoebe's life and join me in rooting for a third book.

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