Book Review: Medusa Jones
Publication Date: January 1, 2008
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
· Ross Collins
by R.J. Carter
Published: December 15, 2007
Ross Collins takes Bullfinch's Mythology and injects it with a healthy dose of cute and a sprinkling of the spirit of Jill Thompson's Little Endless with his freshman novel, Medusa Jones, chronicling the adventures of the li'l gorgon and her friends -- Chiron, the unsure-on-his-feet boy centaur, and Mino, the bullheaded kid who keeps getting lost in his house because his dad keeps adding on more rooms. Chiron and Mino are Medusa's friends, because they share something in common: they're treated like freaks by the influential popular kids -- smart-mouthed Perseus, strong as an ox (and twice as smart) Theseus, and pretty but ever-pessimistic Cassandra: aka, the Champions.
Medusa does her best to get her hair under control, but there's nothing for it. Even wearing a hat is no good, as Perseus and his band of bullies will only snatch it from her. Her only consolation is found in her friends -- and in the drooly kisses of her three-headed pup, Cerberus.
"Pleeeaase can I turn them to stone?" Medusa begged.
"It's not the polite thing to do, dear," said Medusa's mom.
"They're not polite," Medusa said. "They were mean about my hair again today."
"Sticks and stones, Medusa," said Medusa's mom. "You can't go turning everyone who's mean about your hair to stone."
"Gran did." Medusa scowled.
"Gran is insane and lives in a cave. Your father and I didn't raise you like that. Anyway, that's not the point, Medusa. You have to work out other ways of dealing with people who get on your nerves."
However, when Miss Madea, the spinsterish teacher, consolidates Medusa and her friends with the Champions for a school camping trip on Mount Olympus, the outcasts soon find that they're better suited to dealing with situations that are beyond the Champions' ability to handle.
Combining a whimsical blending of togas and backpacks, Collins' Medusa Jones is a fun and funny look at the characters of Greek myths, with an interesting reversal of familiar roles to give the readers a new way to view the relationship between the heroes and villains. Here's hoping we see more from this author and this unique little world he's created.