After our year-long wait Rick Riordan's new book, The Trials of Apollo Book Two The Dark Prophecy, is finally out and totally delivers on the promise of the first--in fact, I think it might be even funnier than book one...
As Apollo heads out of the demigod camp to go up against high evil in the high plains of the Midwest he's joined by a few new characters, and a couple of old favorites pop up too. As you might expect from reading The Hidden Oracle, going from beautiful god to acne-plagued teen continues to torture Apollo, and below are his thoughts, as channeled by Rick Riordan, on the worst of it...
* The Dark Prophecy is our top pick for the Best Books of May for Ages 9-12
The Five Worst Things about Being a Teenager
Oh, my fellow immortals! I sincerely hope you never face what I have—being turned into a mortal teenager as a punishment by Zeus. But if you do, let me warn you in advance of some of the horrors you will be forced to deal with.
- Skin Care
The problem is ghastly, I tell you! Every morning I wake up and fear to look in the mirror, not knowing what fresh indignity might have appeared on my oily face: A white head? A black head? A cold sore? A bumpy red rash? Gods should always look in the mirror and see perfection staring back at them, but when you are a teenager, your very complexion rebels against you. You can’t even use magic to wish the acne away. You must rely on soap, water, and various acne medicines, which, frankly, DO NOT WORK. If I had known about this problem earlier, I would have petitioned the Olympian Council to create a god of acne. We could call her Zitnia, perhaps. We could set up shrines in all the mortal high schools, and I guarantee you her worship would flourish! In fact, I think I will go pray to her right now.
Unspeakable love handles! Horrible flab belly! Oh, how I have come to loathe the term "muffin top," which no longer reminds me of delicious pastries, but my own soft midsection. Why does it have to be so hard to have perfect abs and a godlike physique when you are human? I thought all teenagers were supposed to be young and fit and attractive. It turns out this is only the case in television shows and movies. Real teenagers have to try very hard to stay fit and look good. It’s exhausting. Not only that, but I’m failing at the job miserably. I even find myself staring at television ads for the Ab Carver, the Belly Burner, and the Iron Tummy All-in-One Workout Machine. Unfortunately, I also stare at ads for tasty hamburgers and the meat lover’s double-stuffed pizza. Help me! I’m so confused!
- Peer Pressure
I get this now. When I was a god, I couldn’t possibly experience peer pressure, because I had no peers. I was, of course, the most exceptional, handsome, and talented being in existence. I didn’t even have sibling rivalry, because Artemis and I got along very well and had very different interests. But now, as a teenager, I find myself in a constant state of envy, jealousy, and bitterness. Why can’t I fight with a sword as well as Percy Jackson? Why can’t I look as good as Paolo Montes? Why can’t I shoot a bow as well as my own daughter Kayla, or heal as well as my son Will? At Camp Half-Blood, there was so much pressure to try to IMPROVE myself. This is an alien concept to me, who was once un-improvable. At camp, I wanted to demonstrate that I had the same level of skill as all those demigod heroes. Let me warn you: Peer pressure is dangerous. It has driven me to do so very reckless things, like show courage in battle and put others’ lives ahead of my own. BEWARE. This could happen to you, too, if you become mortal.
Driving is second nature to me. I have driven the sun chariot for thousands of years! But when you are a mortal, there are many annoying rules and regulations you must deal with. Being only sixteen in mortal years, I have to use a student license, which is absurd. I don’t need a chaperone! There is also something called a "speed limit." I always assumed this meant that whatever maximum speed your vehicle was capable of achieving was fine, but apparently not. A policeman explained this to me when I got pulled over in Indiana. Also, policemen don’t seem to think much of teenaged drivers. They will ask you questions. They will criticize your decision-making. If you do something wrong, they will even give you a “ticket,” which I’ve discovered is a form of punishment, not a pass to a wonderful concert or sporting event. How I miss the days when I could drive across the sky at my own pace, blasting anyone who got in my way with heavenly fire. I have discovered that such behavior is frowned upon on the Long Island Expressway.
- Social Media
So many problems for the mortal teenager! One must have the right social media accounts, and then one must worry about how many online friends one has, how many likes each post receives, how many stars and up-votes and smiley faces one gets. It’s like a popularity contest that never ends. I used to be fine with popularity contests, because I would always win, but now it’s a nightmare. No one seems to want to watch Lester Papadopoulos’ YouTube video performance of “I Used to Be Your Sun God, Baby.” 329 views and only 102 likes. What madness is that? I am humiliated! Fortunately, most demigods do not use smart phones for fear of attracting monsters, so I have not been ridiculed too much by my friends. Still, I am not going to share my Twitter handle or Snapchat user name with them. No, not until I get a much bigger online following. I am going to upload my newest music video right now: “You Keep Coming Back Like My Skin Rash.” I know this will be my big break!
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