The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
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 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. (Goodreads)
Enjoyed this one, as it provided a different look at the Greek gods. Kate has had to grow up fast, as she's been taking care of her dying mother for the past four years. That's a lot of pressure for an eighteen year old girl who should be worried about boys and hanging out, not juggling the demands of being a caregiver.
Kate is an interesting character, as she doesn't act like your typical teen heroine. She is afraid of losing her mother, but is she willing to become a modern-day Persephone in order to stave off her mother's death? And what's up with Henry? Is he really Hades, the Lord of the Underworld?
Once Kate agreed to undergo the testing, her life settled into a routine. She had a schedule, but it was a lonely existence. The one bright spot was that every night, she was able to visit with her mother. A healthy version of her mother. But were the visits real, or just a dream? Either way, I enjoyed the interaction between a loving mother and daughter. It's nice to read about a non-dysfunctional family every now and again!
Kate seems to handle the various challenges well. She has a few friends, and tries to get to know Henry. She studies hard, finds a hobby, and just does her best with the path she's chosen. Kate is a good person, but is not supergirl and has no special powers. A refreshing change of pace, as too many heroines these days seem to have some kind of special power, be it angel-blood or ESP or martial arts skill. Nice to read about a normal teenage girl, even if she is mature for her age!
Gave this one a 4/5 as I enjoyed seeing how Kate handled life in a gilded cage, knowing that someone wanted her gone and never knowing when or where she would be tested. Also enjoyed the relationship between Kate and Henry, sharing a common bond of losing someone they loved. Looking forward to reading more in this series, as it was a nice twist on Greek mythology.