Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
Genre: Young Adult
The Goddess Test is a unique YA book from author Aimee Carter. In a world where popular literature is overflowing with vampires and werewolves, reading about a revised version of ancient Greek mythology was truly refreshing. The storyline begins with an introduction to Kate, an atypical eighteen year old girl with life and death responsibilities who’s trying to fit in at a new school. I was quickly engrossed in Kate’s situation and the well constructed fictional world created by author Aimee Carter.
I appreciated the pace at which the chemistry between Kate and Henry developed. It wasn’t forced. It wasn’t the typical “girl hates boy, girl whines about how much she hates boy, girl starts to like boy, boy does something heroic, so now girl absolutely loves boy” storyline. No, in The Goddess Test Kate isn’t a girl caught up in self-proclaimed perils of teenage angst and the shallowness associated with boy crushes. Instead, she’s cautious during her initial interactions with Henry and slowly comes to understand his world, his motivations and the challenges faced by someone in his position.
But this book is so much more than a love story. Fantasy, mystery and suspense are key elements that run throughout the storyline. You see, someone doesn’t want Kate to pass those tests and as such, she’s become an assassin’s target. Interestingly enough, it’s with this challenge that we see a small chink in Kate’s armor, a bit of vulnerability. Because of her mother’s situation, Kate is accustomed to being the decision maker, so it’s not easy for her to rely on relative strangers for assistance in ensuring her welfare.
But this is an example of Aimee Carter’s mastery at giving her characters depth. Her unique twists on the myths of Hades and Persephone and their bitter-sweet storyline touched my heart. As did her portrayal of James, the other primary male character in the book and Kate’s only friend at school.
I can’t tell you how many times while reading this book I thought “this is one of the most unique young adult novels I’ve read in a long time.” This book is not only romantic and exciting but also tender and heartrending. In all, The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter is one of those rare treasures with immense crossover appeal. I recommend it to adults as well as their teenage daughters and sons. Kate is portrayed as an independent, intelligent and self-sacrificing young lady who has to make life choices that most adults would find overwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong though, she’s not hard-hearted or insensitive or one-dimensional in scope. She is at times melancholy, fearful and uncertain about her new life and the future of her and her mother. She’s indifferent toward the other kids at her new school. She’s also angry and bitter about the betrayals she experiences. But throughout her journey of self-discovery where she has to distinguish friend from foe, fact from fiction and real from imaginary, she remains mostly level-headed. And in the end, she undergoes an emotional transition that removes some of the walls she’s built around herself.
Here is a book whose protagonist could serve as a legitimate role model for teenage girls.
PARENTAL NOTE: there is one intimate scene in the book but it’s more implied than explicit.