CALL ME ATHENA by Colby Cedar Smith
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Mary loves her large family and her immigrant parents, but she longs to forge her own path. Her Greek father has engaged her to an older man, and her mother insists that she and her twin sister help with the “women’s work” around the house. But Mary dreams of getting a job and someday owning her own business, like her father.
But as the Great Depression rages around them, her father’s business is floundering and as her betrothal to Dimitris moves forward, Mary begins to despair. When she discovers a packet of letters her parents wrote one another during the Great War, she opens a window into their lives in Greece and France and their blossoming love story. And when she meets a boy named Billy, she begins to hope that there might be a love story for her, too.
Beautiful poems weave the stories of three teenagers, each trying to find their way in a difficult world: Mary in 1934 and her parents in 1915. As their stories begin to intertwine, the reader sees not only the parallels in the lives of teenagers in the 1910s and 1930s (and today) but also comes to better understand the dynamics of the family–even as the family comes to better understand each other. The story has its sad moments, but what ultimately shines through is love, hope, and determination. A riveting story that will delight YA fans of novels in verse and/or historical fiction.