List of the Week: YA Retellings of the Persephone Myth

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I kind of hate Greek mythology. It’s fascinating at its core, but there are just so many gods and goddesses and demi-goddesses, it’s hard to keep track of them. But mostly, I had a horrific experience of trying to cram all the myths into my brain on one of the last days of summer to prepare for a class that then never touched any of the myths. No I’m not still bitter ten years later.

But one myth that I have always loved is the Persephone and Hades myth. But mostly I love it because of everything that’s not said. A lot of people look at this myth and think Hades is a villain, but if you look at how Hades is characterized in every other myth, you’d know he’s not a villain, not really. Sure, he wanted companionship, but would he force Persephone? Nah. Persephone had a toxic relationship with her mom and decided she kind of liked this dude and now she gets to rule the underworld for half the year. How badass is that?

Fortunately, the YA world is also kind of obsessed with this myth because it’s retold more than any other myth and it feeds my soul to see all the ways people have interpreted this myth.

abandon meg cabotAbandon by Meg Cabot
Publisher: Point
Release date: April 26 2011
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can’t help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she’s never alone. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back. But now she’s moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid. Only she can’t. Because even here, he finds her. That’s how desperately he wants her back. She knows he’s no guardian angel, and his dark world isn’t exactly heaven, yet she can’t stay away . . . especially since he always appears exactly when she needs him most. But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

everneath brodi ashtonEverneath by Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: January 24 2012
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists. Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home.

falling under gwen hayesFalling Under by Gwen Hayes
Publisher: New American Library
Release date: March 1 2011
Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she’s seen Haden before –  in her dreams. As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear. And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia’s not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

the goddess test aimee carterThe Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Release date: April 19 2011
It’s always been just Kate and her mom – and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won’t live past the fall. Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld – and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests. Kate is sure he’s crazy – until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride and a goddess. If she fails…

my ex from hell tellulah darlingMy Ex from Hell by Tellulah Darling
Publisher: Te Da Media
Release date: April 1 2013
Prior to the Halloween dance, Sophie figures her worst problems involve adolescent theatrics, bitchy teen yoga girls, and being on probation at her boarding school for mouthy behaviour. Then she meets bad boy Kai and gets the kiss that rocks her world. Literally. This breath stealing lip lock reawakens Sophie’s true identity: Persephone, Goddess of Spring. She’s key to saving humanity in the war between the Underworld and Olympus, target numero uno of Hades and Zeus, and totally screwed. All she’s gotta do is master her powers, save the world…and stop kissing Kai, Prince of the Underworld.

persephone kailin bevisPersephone by Kaitlin Bevis
Publisher: BelleBooks Publishing
Release date: April 24 2015
One day Persephone is an ordinary high school junior working at her mom’s flower shop in Athens, Georgia. The next she’s fighting off Boreas, the brutal god of Winter, and learning that she’s a bonafide goddess—a rare daughter of the now-dead Zeus. Her goddess mom whisks her off to the Underworld to hide until Spring. There she finds herself under the protection of handsome Hades, the god of the dead, and she’s automatically married to him. It’s the only way he can keep her safe. Older, wiser, and far more powerful than she, Hades isn’t interested in becoming her lover, at least not anytime soon. But every time he rescues her from another of Zeus’s schemes, they fall in love a little more. Will Hades ever admit his feelings for her? Can she escape the grasp of her powerful dad’s minions? The Underworld is a very cool place, but is it worth giving up her life in the realm of the living? Her goddess powers are developing some serious, kick-butt potential. She’s going to fight back.

radiant darkness emily whitmanRadiant Darkness by Emily Whitman
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: April 28 2009
Persephone lives in the most gorgeous place in the world. But her mother’s a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there’s no chance of escaping the life that’s been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more—something dangerous and exciting—something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she’s come to love, even the earth itself. In a land where a singing river can make you forget your very name, Persephone is forced to discover who—and what—she really is.

solstice pj hooverSolstice by P.J. Hoover
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release date: June 18 2013
Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom. Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

the star touched queen roshani chokshiThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release date: April 26 2016
With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, Maya has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire. But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

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About Author

Julie Daly

Julie Daly is sometimes known as Julianne. A recent college grad, when not job hunting, Julie is watching Netflix, talking about YA on twitter, or trying to make her cats play. In 2009, Julie joined a group blog called Bloggers[Heart]Books and her obsession with all things YA has grown exponentially. Though she no longer blogs, she did create #quietYA and is a cofounder of Blogbound Con. Julie has also interned at several publishers and sometimes plays bookseller. Follow her on Twitter at @DailyJulianne.

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