The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan
Twelve-year-old Percy (aka Perseus) Jackson “didn’t want to be a half-blood,” as he puts it in the opening line of this first title of the Percy Jackson series. And who can blame him? What’s a half-blood? Well, his mother is mortal, but his father, as he learns about a fifth of the way into the book, is a Greek god. He’s had a few clues that something strange was going on (his Latin teacher has a pen that transforms into a sword, for instance, which Percy, when threatened, then uses to vaporize his pre-algebra teacher – and that’s just in the first chapter). It turns out that Mount Olympus really exists, and Camp Half-Blood seems to be the only place he is safe. When his mother takes him on a three-day retreat to Montauk, at the tip of Long Island, where she first met Percy’s father, Percy’s best friend, Grover, comes to warn them that their lives are in danger. Percy’s mother realizes she can no longer properly protect her son. On her way to take Percy and Grover to Camp Half-Blood, they are attacked by the Minotaur, and the monster gets hold of her. The two boys make it to safety, but that is only the start of their adventures. Rick Riordan, who also writes the Tres Navarre series for adults, says he started writing the Percy Jackson stories for his son. The author’s mix of high adventure, humor, and Greek myths have gained him thousands of fans. And the books get even better as they go along.