Well, if you, or someone you care about likes contemporary YA and Greek mythology too, I’ve got a recommendation for you: DOWNCAST, by Cait Reynolds.
In fact, if your only complaint about Greek mythology is that the characters aren’t always easy to understand, you’re in for a special treat. Because Cait Reynolds has skillfully adapted the story of Persephone and Hades into a very relatable, modern high school story packed with fully alive, fleshed-out characters.
Here’s a little more info about the book: What would you do when faced with an impossible truth? DOWNCAST by Cait Reynolds is ripe with twists you never saw coming and love that defies the odds in this intense new Paranormal Romance retelling one of mythology’s greatest love stories.
It’s the start of Stephanie Starr’s senior year of high school, but sadly, this is no life of the prom queen. Stuck at the bottom of the high school social totem pole, Stephanie is forced by her domineering mother to wear lumpy linen dresses and eat organic tofu for lunch in a world of mini-skirts and pizza.
What Stephanie doesn’t anticipate is gorgeous and cocky Haley Smith who breaks social convention and pursues her with a determination that is both terrifying and flattering. Afraid that Haley is simply trying to set her up for massive humiliation, Stephanie does her best to push him away. But the more attention he pays to her, the more she runs, and the more everyone else begins to notice.
Instead of a loving family to support her as the mean girls make their play, Stephanie’s mother begins to unravel mentally, her possessiveness of Stephanie spiraling to new and frightening extremes. Stephanie is forced to grow up, find herself, and learn the truth about her past in order to save her mother, her friends, and her town. When the truth is revealed, nothing can prepare her for the outrageous reality of her existence…and nothing can save her from her fate.
And here’s Cait’s official bio:: Cait Reynolds lives in Boston area with her husband and 4-legged fur child. She discovered her passion for writing early and has bugged her family and friends with it ever since. When she isn’t cooking delicious meals, running around the city, rock climbing like a boss, or enjoying the rooftop deck that brings her closer to the stars, she writes. Reynolds is able to pull from real life experiences such as her kidney transplant, and her writing reflects her passion for life from having to face the darkest places and find the will to laugh.
Looking for Cait? You can find her website here.
Finally, I’ll leave you with an excerpt. If you’ve ever been to high school–or plan to go there–this scene should ring very true to you.
Excerpt from Downcast
I picked at my lunch, using my fork to rake and pile quinoa like one of those toy zen sandboxes. I had just completed what I thought was a pretty awesome replica of Machu Pichu when Helen slammed herself down in the chair opposite me and huffed.
Morris and I exchanged raised eyebrows.
“Steph, I know I’m driving you home from school,” Helen ground out. “But, do you mind if I commit murder? You can probably bail me out by the end of the day.”
“Fine with me,” I shrugged, turning Machu Pichu into the Grand Canyon. “Go ahead. Who you gonna kill?”
“Why?” I asked.
“So, we’re in Biology, right?” Helen began, sounding deeply aggrieved. “And, I ask the boy if he finished his part of the assignment for chemistry lab tomorrow. What do you think he says?”
“Exactly! He then has the balls to tell me he has been busy with football practice because of Homecoming on Friday, and that he might not get to it!”
“I can help you,” Morris offered from behind his laptop screen.
“No way,” Helen huffed. “That boy is going to do his fair share of the work! He might be able to cheat and charm his way through all the other classes by getting the girls to cover for him, but there’s no way I’m going to let him do that with me!”
“But, what about your grade?” I asked.
“I can always do extra credit,” Helen sniffed disdainfully. “Mr. Ingalls knows I am a serious student. He won’t punish me for a helmet-wearing Neanderthal’s slacking.”
“Dude!” Morris exclaimed. “Harsh!”
“Seriously?” Helen continued, waving her Hot Pocket menacingly. “For some reason, he has decided it’s his goal in life to irritate the crap out of me, and it’s only getting worse.”
“Maybe he likes you?” Morris suggested.
“Don’t be a dumbass,” Helen snorted, giving Morris him her Your Data Is Incorrect look that he never saw because he never looked up from his screen.
Helen morosely went back to eating and probably contemplating some kind of staggering homicidal scheme for Zack.
A thought struck me, and I looked up from my attempt at a quinoa-based Mount Rushmore.
“Helen,” I asked. “Does Zack ever talk about Haley?”
Helen’s eyebrows shot up, and I could practically see the hard drive in her head whirring to life.
“Not really,” she replied, then paused. “Actually, I take that back. He doesn’t talk a lot about Haley, but he does mention him sometimes. He always sounds a little sad when he talks about him.”
“Sad?” I seized on this. “Why?”
Helen frowned thoughtfully before replying, “He seems very protective of him. He said that Haley has always been a loner.”
“Has he ever mentioned him going away?”
“Uh, no? I mean, what do you mean ‘going away?'”
“I don’t know. It’s just something Haley said, like he wouldn’t be around here for long.”
Helen bit the tip of her thumb, her tiny white teeth slightly visible through her parted lips. This was her pose of Intense Puzzlement.
“They seem to have moved around a lot before coming to Darbyfield,” she said finally. “Maybe he’s just anticipating having to leave before the year is over?”
I nodded, somewhat relieved. Obviously, that’s what he had meant. He didn’t want to move again during his senior year. Who would?
“Well,” Morris jumped in. “They can’t move before the end of November, not with Zack being quarterback of the football team.”
Helen rolled her eyes, and I laughed.