Critically acclaimed author Corey Ann Haydu crafts a spellbinding tale following the modern-day descendants of ancient Greek gods—and how two young girls struggling against the weight of the family history end up becoming their own epic myth with large consequences.
If you could choose to be a god forever, would you do it? Every winter solstice, today’s Earthly descendants of Greek gods, nymphs, and muses must visit Mount Olympus to preserve their near-godly status. Until Dorothy’s mother refuses to go, sealing her fate and dying a human death shortly after. In retaliation, the gods release an ultimatum: return to the heavens as gods or live as humans on Earth. Everyone must now make a choice.
Dorothy is already at the bottom of the godly chain as the descendant of the infamous Pandora. Without her mother, the rest of Dorothy’s world becomes quieter, stiller—and her grief threatens to consume her.
Apple, on the other hand, is the beloved descendant of Zeus and Hera. She is the most popular girl in school, and knows she must maintain a perfect facade, or risk ruining the family name.
The two girls couldn’t be more different, but their mothers were best friends, and now they finally grow closer, too. Yet as the solstice nears, Apple’s fear of losing Dorothy causes her to make a choice for herself and Dorothy that changes everything—and the consequences are great. Will the Apple and Dorothy be able to fix their friendship? Will they even choose the same path? Olympus or Earth?
Haydu (One Jar of Magic) ponders on heartfelt insights surrounding loss in this modern fantastical retelling of classic Greek myths. To remain immortal, the inhabitants of Our Hill—all descendants of Greek gods—must climb a silver ladder to Olympus each winter solstice and take a bite of a golden apple. When Dorothy Hardy's mother refuses, she becomes human and dies soon after. Because of her lineage as a descendent of Pandora, community members blame the goddess's curious nature for Dorothy's mother's actions, shunning Dorothy as a result. The gods soon send an ultimatum: upon the next winter solstice, everyone in Our Hill must choose between returning to Olympus as gods forever or remaining on Earth as humans. As the solstice nears, Dorothy's "nearly perfect" best friend Apple Montgomery, a descendent of Zeus and Hera, grows concerned over Dorothy's burgeoning understanding of her mother's choice, worried that she might lose her friend. Haydu's worldbuilding is suffused with playful details and rich juxtaposition between the strict demands of Olympus and Earth. Through Dorothy and Apple's alternating perspectives, the author explores grief's impact to deliver a spirited, invigorating take on familiar legends. Ages 8–12.