I can't remember on which kidslit Blog I read a rave review of Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which is hardly surprising as it's a very popular, often talked about, book, but if you know it was you (because I posted a comment about looking for it), my thanks ! This is such a funny and clever book; it more than made up for the slog that was Hood !
Percy Jackson is a 6th grader who's been to 6 schools in 6 years. He suffers from dyslexia and ADHD. But he doesn't know that he's something special. He also doesn't know, yet, that the Olympian Gods are alive and well and living in 21st century America. And they still fall in love with mortals and have children with them, who might or might not become great heroes. Unfortunately most of these children meet horrible fates at the hands of monsters by the time they're twelve. Percy's age. Only a few of the demigods or Half-Bloods survive to learn the truth of their identity and make it to the summer camp on Half Blood Hill, Long Island. The camp is dedicated to training young demigods. Percy Jackson survives, just, and then is sent on a quest to help his real father to avert a war among the gods. His friend Grover (who is a satyr) from Yancy Academy (the last school Percy attended) and Annabeth, who's the daughter of Athena, join him in a journey across the United States to catch the thief who has stolen the original Weapon of Mass Destruction: Zeus' master lightning bolt. Along the way, the three encounter a host of mythological enemies who are determined to stop them.
It's impossible not to like this book - from chapter titles that include "I accidentally vapourise my Maths teacher", "The old ladies knit the Socks of Death" (a very Pratchettian chapter title, if ever there was one !), to "A God buys us cheeseburgers" and "We take a Zebra to Vegas" - to exchanges such as:
"Annabeth, I'm sorry about the toilets."
"It wasn't my fault."
She looked at me sceptically, and I realised it was my fault. I'd made water shoot out of the bathroom fixtures. I didn't understand how. But the toilets had responded to me. I had become one with the plumbing. (p. 93)
I laughed often whilst reading this book - and I've already reserved a copy of the sequel, Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters at the library !