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Solstice by P. J. Hoover


by P. J. Hoover

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1237150,797 (3.69)6
Eighteen-year-old Piper lives with her controlling mother amid a Global Heating Crisis, but when she gets her first taste of freedom she discovers a universe of gods and monsters where her true identity, kept secret from her birth, could make all the difference in the world.



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I love reading books that happen in my home state. I love them even more when ridiculous heat is mentioned. Let's face it, living in Texas sometimes is like living in one of the inner circles of Hell. (This little rant could be because I worked outside yesterday, and I swear the thermometer was lying. It was insanely hot.)

Now that I'm off my little rant session, here's some book love coming at you. I always find it amazing when authors can mix mythology and dystopian themes. P.J. Hoover did an awesome job with this. She is able to mix one of my favorite Greek myths with extreme heat, and an earth that is falling apart.

I will say that I was able to predict a lot of what was going on, but as I said the storyline includes one of my favorite myths. Even with having an idea of what was going to happen next, I had to keep turning the pages. Hoover drew me into her world, and had me wanting more. Bizarre things start happening to Piper when she turns 18, and she's not sure how to deal with any of them.

Piper kind of gets on my nerves in the beginning. She suddenly has these two guys fighting for her attention, and is all googly-eyes toward both of them. As the plot continues though, you are able to figure out why it's hard to resist one of them. She begins to learn who she is, and accepts things rather quickly. Her mother is AWFUL! I thought my mom was uber protective when I was in high school, but she doesn't have anything on Piper's mom. It's almost demented how much Piper's mom wants Piper to stay with her.

I don't want to get into too much more, so that you have the opportunity to figure out what's going on. I will say that I really enjoyed the book. It made a great hot, summer day read. ;) I do hope after everything that takes place in this book we can get a follow up of sorts. ( )
  BookishThings | Mar 23, 2016 |
Book Review & Giveaway:Like a lot of people, I’m very interested in learning more about climate change and how it’s not only affecting the world now but how it could affect the world in the future. I guess part of it’s my Girl Scout “always be prepared” training kicking in. Anyway, I read an article in Tor Publishing’s newsletter that prompted me to begin a discussion with P.J. Hoover, and that led to this review of her new novel, Solstice. Funny how things happen, huh?

Solstice is a near-future dystopian YA novel that revolves around how people are affected by climate change and features one young girl’s pivotal role. It combines sci-fi/fantasy with mythology and romance in a unique combination that I think will appeal to readers of all ages who are looking for a red-hot summer read (pun intended). Sound interesting? Well, you could also win an autographed copy in our giveaway at http://popcornreads.com/?p=6241. ( )
  PopcornReads | Jul 15, 2013 |
There's a special kind of sadness reserved for a book that starts out well, that you think you're going to be best friends with, but which, instead, goes somewhere that your heart and mind can't embrace. For me, Solstice is one such book. For the first hundred pages, Solstice was heading for a 3.5-4 star rating, but then the twist and the romance happened. Though not for me, Solstice does have good qualities and will no doubt be pleasing to a slew of other readers.

The first hundred pages of Solstice are solid post-apocalyptic, though I wouldn't really call the book dystopian myself, though really what a dystopia is has really lost all meaning for me by this point. The world Hoover has created is an eerily possible future earth, one beset by global warming. In Piper's world, one hundred degrees Fahrenheit is a cool day in Austin, TX. Going outside requires sunscreen pills and cool misting sprays at all times. Water comes in two temperatures: warm and hot. Air conditioning is used to cool buildings down to the upper 80s or 90s - any more than that is illegal. Governments around the world try to fix the heat with science, but the attempts are not proving promising.

In these opening chapters, Piper is cool-headed, thoughtful, and obedient to her overbearing mother. Other students look to her for advice and instructions during crises. Because of her mother's restrictions, she does feel a bit lonely, and wishes she were allowed to date like the other kids, especially since she's legally an adult at 18. For this reason, I wasn't bothered by her intense immediate attraction to the hot new boy at school who just happened to sit next to her in class and want to talk to her OR to the hot boy who came by her house claiming to be the son of one of her mother's colleagues. The girl has been toeing her mother's line for so long she was bound to crack eventually; she's entered her rebellious phase, as evidenced by the tattoo she gets with her best friend. That was all fine.

At this point, if you're concerned about spoilers, you may want to step away. I can't review this one without spoiling the big twist, because I have things I need to talk about to explain why my opinion changed about Solstice. The twist is discussed in the blurb above, but I generally ignore those and didn't know myself, so up to you.

Right around the one hundred page mark, Solstice becomes an entirely different book, a fantasy about Greek mythology. Unfortunately, the transition is marked with excruciatingly instalove-ridden romance, rather than action or good mythology. Hoover does bring the mythological elements to an interesting conclusion, but there was too much unfortunate romance before that got going that kept me from liking this book.

The romance elements have the unfortunate gender dynamics present in other young adult Persephone adaptations, like Abandon and The Goddess Test. Reese (Ares) and Shayne (Hades) are fighting for Piper's love, though she cannot figure out why (even though she's OBVIOUSLY Persephone from when the Greek myth stuff first starts, she won't figure that out until page 290). She instaloves (one week, people!) with Shayne, who refers to her as the "spoils" of his position in the Underworld and refuses to tell her anything, though, to be fair, there does end up being a reason for that later (though my opinion was set by the time I learned that). Whenever Piper gets near Reese, though, his intoxicating scent fills her with memories of their time together, fictional ones, and she cannot help making out with him. Only at the very end does she actually make any sort of informed choice about romance, mostly being led about by the men. The logical, thoughtful heroine of the beginning of the book disappears never to be seen again. Neither love interest ever gets personified beyond on nice strong guy and evil strong guy respectively.

Much as I can't personally get past the romance, I can appreciate the way that Hoover resolved everything. She does put an interesting twist on the relationship dynamics of the myth. Piper's relationship with her mother echoes the original tale, but puts a different spin on Demeter's desire to keep Persephone with her.

I'm torn on the resolution to the whole global warming plot of the beginning. Hoover does come back to that and deftly ties it into the mythology by explaining that it's always summer when Persephone's with her mother. That's pretty awesome on one level, but also really annoys me on a couple of others. From a mythology standpoint, I just don't think that her mother being happy would equal an increasingly hot summer, because it's not like the world was an arid desert until Persephone started spending six months in the Underworld every year. Also, I find the idea that global warming has been turned into a side effect of the squabbles of the gods, rather than of humans completely fucking up the planet, distasteful. I know it's just been done for the fictional value, but I still can't get completely behind it.

If, like me, you're not a fan of poorly characterized instalove romances, you may want to give Solstice a pass. However, if you're curious and not as easily frustrated by such things, there are a lot of cool things in Solstice for you to appreciate. I really like what Hoover did in theory, and I do think that she shows a lot of promise as an author; her writing is good and the concept is fantastic. Though Solstice didn't work for me, I'll be open to reading more of Hoover's books in the future. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Jun 19, 2013 |
What can I say about this book other than it is one of my favorite books of 2011!! It's definitely one of the best books dealing with mythology that I have read. I never thought I would say this, but I really want to meet Hades, the King of the Underworld! PJ Hoover makes the Underworld sound like the best, most happening place in the world!

From Goodreads: "Piper’s world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom."

Piper has always been controlled by her domineering, uber-overprotective mother, and now that she is 18, she has had enough. She starts to rebel, with the help of her best friend Chloe, starting with getting matching Greek tattoos that Chloe picks out for them both. And then things start getting really weird, really quick. She meets two very hot guys (both of whom have apparently been at her school all year, although she has never noticed them before), and they are both vying for her attention. She has no idea that they are both Gods, and while Earth is suffering from global warming, the Underworld is in chaos as well. She has some part to play in all of this, but all she is interested in is finding out who she really is and why all of this is happening to her. Everyone else seems to know, but nobody will tell her.

This is a truly awesome book full of mythology and a girl trying to discover her own identity in a world that is dying. PJ Hoover has a way of giving you everything that you want, and tons more that you didn't even know you wanted! This is a quick, easy read because it keeps your interest from the very beginning, and it moves from one thing to the next seamlessly. The pace is perfect, and the characters are very well developed. There is definite character growth, which is missing in a lot of books that are quick reads. The characters are not sacrificed for the plot, which is a definite pet peeve of mine. There are some great twists and turns, and I was constantly kept guessing about what was going to happen next.

In summary, this is a really great book that I highly recommend to all lovers of YA, fantasy, and mythology. I give it an enthusiastic 5 stars :D

Of note, there is one part of the book that mentions the male genitalia, something to keep in mind for the younger readers out there. ( )
  jwitt33 | Sep 21, 2011 |
Solstice is the best mythological-based book that I’ve read all year!

The events of Solstice take place in the future of Austin, Texas, where 99 degrees is the new low. The effects of global warming are becoming a reality with heat bubbles taking large numbers of lives and Austin’s government worsening the global warming issue instead of helping. Piper’s mom is on the council and disproves of the way the council handles the situation, but she doesn’t speak up. Instead, she’s satisfied working with her plants at Botanical Haven, their private greenhouse, and overshadowing Piper in her obsessive desire to monopolize her daughter.

As the story progresses, Piper realizes that there are secrets surrounding her identity. She has always believed that her father is a criminal, but now she learns that her mom lied to her. Melina, a frequent customer at Botanical Haven, gives her a mysterious box for her birthday. And the two new guys at school? Well, everyone else believes that Reese and Shayne have been there all year, and so do they, so she goes along with their ideas.

When I learned Shayne’s true identity (the first that you’ll discover), I’ll admit that began to think that this book would turn out to be just another one of the up and coming mythology books. However, P.J. Hoover introduces yet another twist to her dystopian novel: the fact that Piper is one of the gods.

Once the gods step in, this story becomes less dystopian and more mythological/paranormal as Piper uncovers clues as to whom she really is. I’ll tell you this. While I was disappointed that there wasn’t more focus on impending world doom, it made me fall in love with the story all over again. Piper doesn’t go on action-filled quests to save the world, but she does discover her identity—and along with it, she finds love. It’s not destiny, nor is it not forbidden love (excluding Mom’s daughter complex). It’s pure love.

I must say that the ending left me feeling empty. Hoover does give us a feel for how events will turn out: Piper finds her rightful place, and we have a feel for what will happen to the “bad guys.” However, the bad guys have yet to be judged, and anything could happen. She also leaves us the question of whether or not the balance in the world will be righted. The book would have been all right by itself since Piper’s back in her rightful place, suggesting that everything’s all right now, but… there’s a sequel, which means more trouble for Piper. Which means I expect answers in the sequel!!

P. J. Hoover turns the gods and goddesses into very realistic personalities. Hades is moody, mysterious, yet caring and responsible about the Underworld, which he rules wisely and justly. I enjoyed looking at the three areas of the Underworld through Piper’s eyes. Cerberus is so very doggy and lovable. Ares is cruel and arrogant, the very manifestation of the God of War that he is. Aphrodite is manipulative and vain. Zeus is easygoing and open about his affairs. As for Demeter? Well, you see another side to her that you’d never think to see. And it’s interesting, real, and adds spice to this story.

Solstice is a real page-turner of a novel. I couldn’t stop reading it from the moment I read the first lines. I recommend Solstice for readers looking for a good mythological read, a story of true love, the journey of self-discovery, and some steamy scenes with hot gods. ( )
  summerskris | Aug 16, 2011 |
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For Mom and Dad, who raised me to believe I could do anything.
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Mom says, “Watch the heat today.”
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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