Helen is a completely normal teenage girl living in London. She has sleepovers with her friends, hates French homework and swoons over mysterious boys at parties. However, she has one small secret that sets her apart from her peers – her dad is Zeus, almighty Greek god and annoyingly strict father.
I’ll start by saying that I am definitely not the target audience for this book, so some of it was lost on me (it is almost ten years since I was that age!) However, the letters from Helen to her mother were poignant and realistic and I appreciated the breaks between chapters filled with teenage dramatics (having a red nose is not that big a deal, Helen).
The first half of the book grated on me slightly, as I felt Helen complained about a multitude of shallow things. This was until I attempted to suspend my sensible thinking and tried to sympathise with how stressful change can be for young people. Once I had succeeded in this, I began to appreciate the book more.
The romance in the book is handled very well, and I loved that Helen held her own at the end rather than immediately forgiving the boy in question. I believe, despite her dramatics at the beginning, Helen could be a positive role model for teenagers, especially with regard to responsibility and friendship.
One thing I would have preferred to see more of is background information, especially with regards to the Greek myths the book is based on. On the other hand, Sheppard included some descriptions of Mount Olympus and the like with skill. I would say the book is more an exploration of grief and the daily stress of attempting to juggle school, friends, personal issues and family life as a teenager with Greek myth interwoven within.
Despite this book not being for me, I would still recommend it for younger teens, as it does address some problems young people can face. However, if you’re looking for a book more heavily laced with Greek myth, you may be disappointed.