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Hanging With the Mythbusters at Mount Olympus Junior High

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OH MY GODS!
Written by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick
Illustrated by Juliana Moon

Families can be a tricky business. Just ask Karen, the protagonist of “Oh My Gods!,” the new graphic novel by Stephanie Cooke, Insha Fitzpatrick and Juliana Moon. On the surface, Karen is pretty much a typical 13-year-old girl: She plays video games, texts constantly and is close to her mother. Speaking of which, Karen’s mom has just been asked to curate a gallery show, and to contribute a piece of artwork. The only downside is that, well, this dream job isn’t local. She’s going to have to relocate for a while, which means Karen will need to stay with her father.

“You want me to go live with Zed?!” Karen screams, clearly not thrilled. Karen’s dad, it turns out, hasn’t been a steady presence in her life. He visits only on holidays, and even then only weird ones no one has heard of, like Panathena. But Karen is a sweet kid, so she soon finds herself on a trans-Atlantic flight from New Jersey to Mount Olympus, in Greece.

If you think you know where this is heading, you’re not wrong. Karen, however, stays blissfully, improbably unaware. The clues are subtle at first — did that flight attendant have ram’s horns? — but credulity is thoroughly strained when Zed meets his daughter at the airport in a chariot pulled by winged horses. “Whatever you paid for these horse costumes is too much!” Karen tells a visibly confused Zed.

The weirdness continues at her new school, Mount Olympus Junior High. A student named Hermes takes Karen on a tour. “We’re like one big happy family!” he says, moving so quickly he seems to be in multiple places at once. The Muses are teachers, Hera runs the main office and a barely disguised Zed is the principal. In a clever cafeteria scene we meet the school’s various cliques: the jocks (the Titans), the mean girls (the Fates), even Jeff (“Wait, who’s Jeff?” “He’s, like, super into pancakes”). It’s here that Karen finds her own crew, the Mythbusters: compassionate Dita, studious Tina, cute guy Pol and his twin, the no-nonsense archer Artemis.

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