As a librarian, I get book recommendations from students and teachers all the time. I really do try to read at least some of them, especially if the recommendation comes from a student whose taste in books is similar to mine. A few weeks ago, a sweet sixth grade girl recommended Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs to me, saying she really, really loved it. A big fan of the Forgive My Fins trilogy, I’d been wanting to read Sweet Venom for awhile anyway, and my girl’s recommendation gave me the push I needed.
AUTHOR: Tera Lynn Childs
SERIES: Medusa Girls, book 1
PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books
PUBLICATION DATE: September 6, 2011
SOURCE: my library, recommended to me by 6th grade girl
GENRE: fantasy/ Greek mythology
GIVE IT TO: MS girls
Triplet girls separated at birth learn they are descendants of the mythological Gorgon Medusa charged with protecting mankind from mythology’s most heinous creatures.
MY REVIEW OF SWEET VENOM
I really liked this one! I tend to enjoy mythology-influenced stories anyway, and Childs’s Forgive My Fins was one of my favorite books on the 2011-2012 Lone Star Reading List. While for me, Sweet Venom lacked the charm of Forgive My Fins, I found it mostly well-paced with a gruesome cast of mythological monsters and a fun premise.
I liked the triplet characters of Gretchen, Grace, and Greer, but I do think the three girls’ alternating voices were not distinctive enough. If I stopped reading mid-chapter, I would sometimes have to read a several paragraphs before I could tell which girl’s story I was reading. Greer, Grace, and Gretchen are very different characters, and I wish their “voices” were more unique to them.
The book is well-paced for the most part, but the story really picks up once the third triplet, Greer, is introduced. Greer is hands-down my favorite character, and her inclusion adds an element of sibling-rivalry that I did not expect. Being the oldest in a sisterly trio myself, I enjoyed reading how the girls find each other and learn to get along.
I was a little disappointed in the male characters in the story–they are all pretty standard stock. Cute, popular, outgoing, yada yada. I am hoping they develop more fully in the sequel Sweet Shadows. I think the romance is a big part of what I loved about Forgive My Fins and missed in Sweet Venom. Romance is there, but it takes a back-seat to the sisters’ story.
Overall, Sweet Venom is a fun read that will appeal to middle school girls big-time. Book talking it in my library will be a breeze (even without a good book trailer at this time), and I have decided to include it on my 2012-2013 Lone Star Plus list for my school. My ARC of Sweet Shadows (due out in September) taunts me at this very minute…
THE BOTTOM LINE
Romance takes a backseat in this cute story of three sisters battling mythological beasts. Perfect for middle school girls!
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY
We currently have two copies of Sweet Venom in my library, which I am going to add to next year’s Lone Star Plus list for my school.
Oh. My. Gods. (Childs); any of the Rick Riordan mythology books; Forgive My Fins (Childs)
- Overall: 3.5/5
- Creativity: 4/5
- Characters: 3/5
- Engrossing: 3/5
- Writing: 4/5
- Appeal to teens: 5/5
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
- Language: none
- Sexuality: very mild–one girl’s boyfriend alludes to “staying overnight,” but it does not happen and is not a big deal
- Violence: mild-medium–some non-scary mythological monster attacks; the three sisters have retractable fangs
- Drugs/Alcohol: very mild–a few references to one sister’s previous foster parents, both violent drug/alcohol abusers