Friday, 18 April 2014

Series Recommendation: Abandon by Meg Cabot

Series: Abandon by Meg Cabot (Scholastic Inc.)
Number of books: 3
Age range: 14 & up
Genre: Fantasy / Drama / Romance
Will be enjoyed by fans of: Twilight, Beautiful Creatures, The Raven Boys.

Series synopsis: The Abandon series is a modern retelling and twist on the Persephone and Hades myth. Pierce is only fifteen when she dies and is swept away by the powerful, mysterious, yet undeniably handsome John Hayden. But even after escaping the underworld, Pierce realizes she will never be able to escape the dark forces that threaten her — or John himself. Readers will fall in love with one of the most famous Greek myths, darkly re-imagined, and now more charming and powerful than ever.

My thoughts on the series: The first time I read the summary for these books, I admit I immediately dismissed them as being another cheesy teen romance series. The cover art, though appealing for preteen readers who want to progress to adult romance novels, may be a little off-putting to readers who avoid mass-market, formulaic romance novels. I've read the series multiple times now, and every time I come back to it, I appreciate it Meg Cabot's undeniable talent a little more. 

Cabot is one of the few authors who has managed to use Greek mythology to produce a well-written, unique, and intelligent story. The characters often refer to Hades and Persephone, comparing their situation to the original myth, and thereby teaching the reader something in the process. There are, of course, differences in Cabot's story. John is not Hades, he's not a god, and he didn't kidnap Pierce per se. The "underworld" in which he lives is not the underworld, and Pierce is your average teenage girl. Lastly, it is also interesting to note that each chapter begins with a quote from Dante's Inferno, again offering readers another subtle glimpse into the fascinating subject of classical history.

Readers who loved Edward Cullen for his physical power, for his devotion and love for Bella, and for all the reasons that makes him the perfect man, will fall instantly in love with John Hayden. Much like Edward, before he meets Pierce, John is a bit of a "wild thing."But Pierce is his perfect match, and he is hers. It is a charming and addictive love story of two young people who fall in love, in spite of all their differences. 

I find Pierce to be a much more appealing protagonist than other heroines. She isn't fragile or awkward or dull. Her life isn't easy, she had a near-death experience, and even though she leads a privileged life, she has a lot of the same insecurities, uncertainty, and problems that every teenage girl has. She's determined, stubborn, and she's a fighter. She isn't a damsel-in-distress and she doesn't let John get away with his over-protective attitude and his mood swings. 

Aside from the supernatural elements, the series also addresses adult subjects such as pre-marital sex, drugs, bullying, violence, and death. All of these mature subjects have a purpose, are handled well, and are never graphic. There is also a nice balance of typical high school drama, the supernatural, and romance. 

The books are fairly short and are easy to lose yourself in. This series is a fantastic choice for summer reading. Meg Cabot's talents as an author are revealed in her storytelling and in her construction of a world in which the afterlife is a believable place. 
I highly recommend this series for young teen readers who enjoy YA fantasy/romance novels.

You can check out the book trailer from This is Teen below.

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