Goddess of Yesterday (Bank Street College of Education Josette Frank Award)

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9780385729451: Goddess of Yesterday (Bank Street College of Education Josette Frank Award)

Anaxandra is taken from her birth island at age 6 by King Nicander to be a companion to his crippled daughter, Princess Callisto. Six years later, her new island is sacked by pirates and she is the sole survivor. Alone with only her Medusa figurine, she reinvents herself as Princess Callisto when Menelaus, great king of Sparta, lands with his men. He takes her back to Sparta with him where Helen, his beautiful wife, does not believe that the red-headed child is Princess Callisto. Although fearful of the half-mortal, half-goddess Helen, Anaxandra is able to stay out of harm’s way—until the Trojan princes Paris and Aeneas arrive. Paris and Helen’s fascination with each other soon turns to passion and plunges Sparta and Troy into war. Can Anaxandra find the courage to reinvent herself once again, appease the gods, and save herself?

In Caroline B. Cooney’s epic tale of one girl’s courage and will to survive, Anaxandra learns that home is where you make it and identity goes deeper than just your name.

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Review:

The dramatic and bloody siege of Troy is one of the oldest and best of human stories, and in Goddess of Yesterday Caroline Cooney tells it afresh through the eyes of Anaxander, the daughter of the king of a tiny Greek island. As a child she is taken as a hostage to the island of King Nicander. When she is 13, marauding pirates sack the palace, killing everyone but her. Anaxander frightens them off by pretending to be the goddess Medusa, with the help of an octopus as a hairdo. When she is rescued by the ships of King Menalaus, she assumes the identity of a princess, Nicander's daughter, and becomes a royal guest. When Menalaus's cold and vain wife, Helen, runs off to Troy with her lover, Paris, Anaxander goes along to protect Helen's baby son. Within the walls of Troy, she is torn with conflicting loyalties as the bronze-clad warriors of Menalaus land their ships on the plains below the city and war is imminent.

The characters of the Iliad come vividly alive in this action-filled novel: the shallow and amoral Paris, the wailing prophetess Cassandra in her tower prison, and especially Hector, a big, straight-talking sweetheart. Fans of Cooney's contemporary novels like The Face on the Milk Carton will find this story of ancient Greece every bit as irresistible. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell

About the Author:

Caroline B. Cooney is the author of The Face on the Milk Carton (an IRA–CBC Children’s Choice) and its companions Whatever Happened to Janie? (an ALA Best Book for Young Adults), The Voice on the Radio (an American Bookseller Pick of the Lists), and What Janie Found. Her other novels include The Ransom of Mercy Carter, What Child Is This?, Burning Up, and Drivers Ed.

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