Surprise! Not only are the Greek gods real, but their interference in the love lives of mortals has disastrous consequences. Sound familiar?
In Gorzelanczyk’s debut novel, Aaryn, the son of Eros, is training to become a full god, and making Karma Clark and her homecoming date, Danny Bader, fall in love is his final exam. Unfortunately, love’s arrow strikes only Karma, and Aaryn must mitigate the damage done to her life—teen pregnancy and the loss of her ballet scholarship—by making Danny propose marriage. The story mines some of the same god-human territory as Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, but part of those novels’ charms lies in the complicated interplay between lofty Olympus and the mortal world. Both realms must be fully delineated if readers are to care that the protagonist is caught between them. Instead, modern-day Olympus is hastily dispatched to focus on the inevitable Aaryn-Karma-Danny love triangle, which stretches credulity by being told to readers rather than shown. At one point, Karma compares their forbidden friendship/romance to Johnny and Baby from Dirty Dancing, which, rather than heightening the romance, makes it feel like a retread done better elsewhere. Oddly enough, the most authentic character is Danny, the ne’er-do-well jock who prefers beers with friends to diaper duty.
Hasty plot resolution and uneven character development make this myth-inspired teen romance less than heavenly. (Fantasy. 13-17)