Title: The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1)
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 04/19/2011
Let me just say that Harlequin Teen has proven themselves to be one of the top YA publishers in the field. They've managed to put out some of the most popular & high quality fiction that I've read. I guess that it just makes sense that once in a while I'll find something in their lineup that just doesn't thrill me as much as some of their other books do.
Every girl who has taken the test has died.
Now it's Kate's turn.
It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests. Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.
If she fails...
This book had an incredibly good idea, taking the idea of Greek mythology & adapting it to modern day. It's interesting without being overexposed like vampires & werewolves have become. The basic character designs in this book are also good. Kate is a capable everygirl & is at a good age to appeal to both teens & older audiences. The mixture of old mythology & new ideas is a nice pairing & Carter manages to make this a book that people will want to continue reading.
The only problem? While this was something I was more than willing to keep reading, at the same time I found many of the characters to be somewhat shallow & some of the situations forced. The worst culprit of this had to have been the character of Ava, a snotty popular girl turned best friend of the main character. There was almost zero belivability for her to befriend Kate after all that was said & done, to be honest. If she'd been more built up then that would have been somewhat believable, but her character development just wasn't there. Another element that was sorely underdone was the romantic chemistry between Kate & Henry. We're told that the two of them have sparks & that Kate's gaga for him, but I just didn't see it happening to the point that Carter would have us believe.
Overall this was a decent enough read & I'm mildly curious about the next book in the series, but to be honest... this was just a mediocre read. It's not a bad read by any stretch but it just wasn't great either. This is just my opinion & I have no doubt that this will end up being someone's favorite book to read & re-read like I re-read Kim Harrison & Rachel Vincent. Bottom line is that this is absolutely a must read at the library, but at the bookstore? Flip through it first.
Final diagnosis: Definitely a library read for me, but will be a "must have" for others.
(ARC provided by Netgalley)