The Eternal City by Paula Morris
Publisher: Point/Scholastic Inc.
Goodreads link: (Goodreads link)
What's it about?
Laura Martin is enjoying her class trip to Rome. She's seeing the sights, eating the food and learning about the history of the city and about the ancient Roman gods. Everything has been beautiful, magical and normal so far, but on one of the last days of the trip, things are taking a turn for the weird. Laura is sure she saw the Trevi Fountain come to life, but before she could be sure, a pickpocket tried to steal her precious bracelet, the one that her Grandfather left to her. From there things get even more bizarre and dangerous. All but Laura and three other students on the trip come down with a mysterious flu that confines them to their beds in the hostel. Now, Laura is left wandering the streets of Rome with Maia, a not-so-friendly transfer student, Dan, a popular guy she'd never talk to otherwise and Jack, a well-meaning nerd. They try to enjoy the remaining time in Rome together, but a volcanic eruption, an earthquake and even more magical mayhem put a halt to their fun. Statues, paintings, birds and fountains are trying to attack them, and to top it all off, Laura is pretty sure that Mercury (the actual Roman god!) is trying to help them.
It turns out that Laura's bracelet, and her very presence in Rome, have started a war between the ancient gods and goddesses that could destroy the city as it stands today. Long ago, Laura's grandfather took something as a souvenir, but he had no idea of the consequences. Upon it's return to it's rightful home, it awakened some very angry ancient gods. It's now up to Laura, her remaining classmates and two other new European friends, Sofie and Kasper, to save modern day Rome from the dangers of the past. They will have to fight for their lives in order to save the future.
The Eternal City is a fun adventure with ancient gods in modern day Rome. It's got danger, myth, magic, mystery, excitement, friendship and just a touch of sweet romance. It was interesting reading about Roman gods since I mostly see books about the Greek gods. I admit that I don't know much about the Roman gods, so this was a fun starting point. There was one other book recently that took on this topic, Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen, and I recommend that book to go along with this one since it was also a fun and magical Roman adventure (although it didn't take place in modern day Rome). Actually, I recommend The Eternal City for younger teen readers who are transitioning out of Middle Grade and into YA. The characters are older (in high school) but there's nothing in it content wise that would be considered inappropriate. Yes, they battle their way through the city, which gets a bit dangerous, but it's not too violent. Also, the romance is very sweet and innocent, culminating in a single, chaste kiss and some hand holding. This is a cute and fun book that I believe is meant for those on the younger side of YA, although I still enjoyed it being on the, ahem, not-so-young side of the genre. It's one I'll be recommending to MG readers looking for adventure as well.
To go along with The Eternal City (click cover for my review):