Harvesting the Heart (Jodi Picoult)

Because Paige O'Toole's mother abandoned her and Paige's father at a young age, she has been left with a lifetime of empty, longing memories and curiosities about what would possibly cause a mother to leave her child. Because of the scar left on her by this abandonment, Paige develops a proclivity for running herself. Though she has a wonderful and supportive father, as soon as she graduates from high school, Paige runs away from home to pursue art school...

And then she meets Nicholas. Nicholas, the cardiothoracic surgeon. Nicholas, the (not by much) older man. Nicholas, her knight in shining armor. 

They have a wildly brief courtship and marriage, and just as Paige is about to be on the brink of starting the art school she always dreamed of, they have a son. Max is the love, delight, and the great terror of Paige's life. Overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood, her perceived loss of herself, and by an increasingly unhappy marriage, Paige does the one thing Paige knows how to do. She runs. She runs far away from what and who she has, at the same time running toward who and what she wants. 

I love Jodi Picoult. This wasn't my favorite of her works, as in my opinion it was a bit lengthy at the expense of precision. Still, pretty good for some heavy mom-introspection. 



 

The Sea of Monsters (Rick Riordan)

This is the second installment in the Percy Jackson series. Percy's friend Groves is in big trouble, and it will take everything he and Annabeth can do to save both their friend and all of Camp Half-blood.

The camp is in utter chaos when one of their long-standing defenses begins to fail. Everyone will be killed unless Percy and Annabeth can retrieve the golden fleece from Polyphemos (a giant Cyclops), which just happens to be in the middle of the Sea of Monsters (commonly known as the Bermuda Triangle). One disaster after another awaits them in this portion of the sea, but it is their friendship that keeps them pressing on. A new characters introduced in this book is Tyson, a young Cyclops. It is difficult to determine whether he is friend or foe, and as Percy figures that out, he reveals some interesting pieces of his character and his relationship with Annabeth.

The Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan) [Percy Jackson Series: #1]

Percy Jackson is just a regular kid. Just a regular, middle school kid. Sure, weird things happen to him. Water does strange things when he feels strong emotions. Or does it? Maybe he imagines it.

Actually, Percy J is sort of a son of Poseidon. It's kind of a long story, but Papa Poseidon and human Mama Jackson go their separate ways and Percy never knows his father. And it's all fun and games until a lightning bolt gets stolen. A rather important lightning bolt. Zeus's lightning bolt, to be exact. Zeus thinks Poseidon took it, Poseidon blames Hades, Hades blames everyone, and the world is going to implode unless that bolt can be recovered.

Percy Jackson and his friends are the kids for the job. They trek all over tarnation trying to locate the bolt and then return it back to Zeus in order to stop World War III, and all along the way it seems that everyone and everything are trying to stop them.

This is the first installment in the Percy Jackson series. The series is wildly popular with kids, and in its movie form as well. I can see why! Incredible suspense, Greek mythology, and classic good vs. evil all make for strong elements in young adult literature. I found it interesting that the author is a middle school English teacher. That explains how he nails middle school humor and logic so well.