Friday, August 21, 2009

TROY HIGH by Shana Norris

What would happen if you took the story of the Trojan War and set it in a modern-day high school? TROY HIGH does just that as it pits the Trojans against the Spartans starring typical teens in the lead roles of the great old story.

Cassie is a student at Troy High. She keeps herself pretty much out of the action and observes as her two brothers play football and act as big men on campus. Her main interests are playing flute in the band and playing video games with her best friend Greg. They met two years ago when both their schools attended the same band camp.

There has always been a healthy rivalry between the Trojans at Troy High School and the Spartans from nearby Lacede. Things are different this year, however, because the geographical boundary line between the two school districts was changed causing a shift in attendance requirements. Some of the Lacede Spartans are now required to attend Troy High. This change has disrupted the students and school loyalty is being tested.

Elena, formerly a Spartan, is now attending Troy. She already was acquainted with Cassie since she dated Greg’s older brother. However, on her first day at her new high school, Elena discovers Cassie’s brother Perry. She immediately falls for him and decides to dump her Spartan boyfriend.

Cassie would like to steer clear of the romantic mess since she has some of her own to deal with, but Elena insists on turning their casual friendship into more of a best friend situation. At first Cassie thinks it is because Elena likes her older brother, but Elena constantly assures her that she is seriously interested in becoming BFFs.

TROY HIGH is not just about romantic interests. The school rivalry heats up and students from both sides begin playing more and more dangerous and destructive pranks. The administrators are not happy with the escalating level of these pranks and threaten to suspend the involved students. The football season is also affected by the rivalry. Players are out not just to win, but to disable their opponents in order to end with a winning record.

Author Shana Norris explains in her author’s note the amount of research necessary to make the famous Trojan War story come alive in this modern telling. She also lists the character parallels (Cassie/Cassandra, Greg/Agamemnon, Perry/Paris, Elena/Helen) just to name a few. Fans of mythology will appreciate the comparisons, but anyone familiar with traditional high school rivalries will find things to like about TROY HIGH.

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