The Goddess Test is one of my favorite reads of 2011 thus far. Aimee Carter's writing from page one is beautiful and poignant. After getting my copy from NetGalley I was transported into the world of Eden Manor and finished it in less than 24 hours. The story opens as Kate is taking her dying mother home from New York to Eden City Michigan to die. The last four years Kate has spent as a caretaker to her mom who has cancer. Kate's has not lived the life of an average carefree teen. So when she arrives at Eden High she is confused by all of the unwelcome attention she receives from classmates James, Ava and Dylan. Ava, class cheerleader is immediately jealous of Kate and takes her on an outing that turns deadly. There Kate meets mysterious Henry who answers her call for help. Henry is my favorite character of all. He's polite and timeless while remaining a bit wounded at the same time. As the god of the underworld he has the power to bring back the dead for Kate who must, in exchange, trade 6 months a year of her life as his guest.
Patterned after the tale of Persephone and Hades, The Goddess Test brings greek mythology into the 21st century. Carter's underworld is fascinating as are the 7 tests Kate must pass in order to become who she is meant to be. Kate is self sacrificing and selfess. Her love for Henry and her mother overrules all. My biggest hesitation with the book was suspending disbelief in Kate's relationship with James and Ava. I have to agree with blogger Book Faery who said " I could not believe some of the friendships that were so easily accepted by Kate. There were no reasons whatsoever for Kate to feel such loyalty to some of the characters she just met. There was no reason for her to sacrifice her life for a girl who wanted to harm her. " My second disappointment was the test of lust that Kate and Henry go through. It fit well with the plot but added a twist that makes an otherwise clean book more suitable for mature readers.
My overall impression is one of praise for The Goddess Test. I stayed up late into the night reading it and could not put it down. The pace is fast and there are tons of surprises in plot. Aimee Carter is one talented young lady and I predict big things for this series. I'll follow up on the story when Goddess Interrupted, book 2 is released. Can't wait to see what kind of a life lays ahead for Henry and Kate. Thanks so much to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for the sneak peek!