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Solstice by P.J. Hoover
Cover Artist: Steve Stone
Review by Mel Jacob
Tor Teen Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765334695
Date: 18 June 2013 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

P.J. Hoover makes use of various Greek legends and gods in Solstice, her young adult fantasy about extreme climate change in the future. Piper, a teen-ager, about to turn eighteen, encounters two gorgeous young men, both after her affection. She is also forced to face the truth about herself, her parents, and both men. The wrong choice could doom the world.

Piper's domineering mother controls her life. They have moved many times to avoid Piper's absent father. She isn't allowed to date and only recently has been allowed to attend public school. Piper both loves and hates her mother. Her mother, when angry, causes the plants to lose leaves and even die. Piper has green thumb and can make anything grow.

Shane, dark and muscular, draws Piper's attention in her Social Sciences class, but makes no advances. Reese, golden like a Greek god, tries to date her. He gives her rare cut flowers, which is against the law, and stirs her senses. She agrees to a date when her mother goes away for the weekend.

Piper and her friend Chloe go off that same weekend to enjoy a day free of restraint, but a heat bubble alerts makes Piper fear for Chloe's safety, but Chloe won't take shelter. When Chloe falls, a dark figure approaches that Piper believes is Death. Shane shows up and tells Chloe she can save her friend, but advises that may not be wise. He takes her to Hades and reveals he is King of the Underworld.

To Piper, the world underground feels natural and she likes it. When she returns, they waken Chloe and the girls return home. Piper remains reluctant to release Chloe to Death. However, the choice to let her live has consequences.

The dinner date with Reese leaves Piper in a daze. When Reese is near, she feels she knows him and perhaps loves him. She senses he is an addiction and manipulates her. She does her best to resist him.

The world still faces an endless summer growing ever hotter and destroying the life of plants and animals. A strange birthday gift raises her suspicions, but she has no clue to what it means. Unknown to Piper, the fate of the world rests on her choice of a man.

Astute readers will recognize Piperís identity early in the novel. There is a twist of sort likely to surprise most readers. The presence of strong sexual feelings and plenty of wine drinking by Piper may offend some. The story is both too juvenile and too adult. Some of it doesnít quite fit.

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