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The Last Olympian

Teens battle Titans in this lively update of Greek myths for middle readers.

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Lots of teenagers can’t wait for their 16th birthday. But Percy Jackson has more on his mind than getting his driver’s license: When he turns 16, he’s supposed to make a decision that could end Western civilization.

Since there’s only a week till the big day, it would take more than streamers and party hats to put him in a festive mood.

If you are or know a middle-schooler, you won’t need any introduction to the “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” series, but for the rest of us, here’s a quick catch-up: In the fifth and final installment, The Last Olympian, the Greek gods aren’t gone; they’ve just packed up and moved to America. (Mount Olympus is now perched on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building.)

And, as anyone who’s ever picked up “Bulfinch’s Mythology” knows, they keep having kids. Percy is the son of a single mom and the sea god, Poseidon. Since monsters keep attacking them, the demigods train at Camp Half-Blood, run by Dionysus (who’s switched to Diet Coke) and Chiron the centaur. Over the past four books, nearly dying has become as much a part of summer for Percy and friends as fireworks on the Fourth are for us mere mortals.

“So you do this every summer? Fight monsters? Save the world? Don’t you ever get to do just, you know, normal stuff?” asked Percy’s lone nonmagic friend, Rachel. If by “normal,” you mean “have a half brother who’s a cyclops,” then sure.

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