Last month I read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. I was turned on to these books by one of the kids I babysit for — he really likes this authors books, and blew through all five of the Percy Jackson series earlier this year. I thought I'd try out The Lightning Thief, and ended up really enjoying it, so I decided to read the rest of the series.
The Sea of Monsters is the second book in the series. After spending the school year in a regular school, Percy gets kicked out at the very end of the year when a bunch of monsters try to kill him, and the resulting fire and mayhem is blamed on him. (Humans can't generally see monsters, so they didn't see what actually happened.) Then he finds out that his friend at school is actually a baby cyclops, someone is trying to destroy his summer camp (a safe place for half-bloods), and he's banned from leaving camp to try to do anything about it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he sneaks out and goes on a quest of his own to retrieve the Golden Fleece, which they need in order to save the camp.
I really like these books for a couple of reasons. One, I like how Rick Riordan weaves real mythology into the stories. I loved Greek mythology as a kid, so I often recognize when he's drawing on it for some element to the story, but I also like the fact that he is subtly educating kids in mythology, and most likely getting them interested in finding out more.
I also like them because they are just plain fun. They are well-written adventure stories, and I like the slightly sarcastic sense of humor — I don't know how many kids get it, but it's definitely there to interest the adults, and I often find myself laughing out loud while I read. Plus, they are fairly quick reads, which is nice when I have a list of books to read that's about three miles long.
I'm on hold now for the remaining three ebooks from my library, but several had long wait lists, so it may be a while before I get around to reviewing the rest of the series!