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Rebels from Olympus (Paperback) (Sandy Milczarek)

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Identity can define you. Identity can destroy you. His mother is not who he thought she was. Neither is his absent father. Fifteen year-old Justus Appleyard discovers that even he is something other than fully human and is about to face an evil darker than the death of the body the death of self. Slippery identities snake and twist in the people around Justus as he wars with his unraveling life: his tattered sense of identity; the way his mother looks at him without really seeing him; the lonely country lane they live on; no friends; a precocious thirteen ­year-old sister, Rosa, who's smarter and more talented than him; the rejection by the girl of his dreams, Madeline; his mother's environmental activism that has earned her the title of "town kook". Justus copes with his escalating anger by drawing his own comic book series featuring his hero, Captain Fortis, costumed in full armor as a Roman soldier who fearlessly fights the local environmental villains. In addition to his comic books, Justus spends the rest of his time working out to build muscle mass on his too-tall, stick-thin body, reading about ancient Greek and Roman wars and studying all types of weaponry throughout history, including explosives. Violet Appleyard, Justus' mother, works as an environmental activist for Green Earth Stewards. She has chosen the small college town of Mars City, Pennsylvania as her battleground. Her passion is her work, and Justus feels as though he is just an afterthought and Rosa is her prized child. Since she was four years old, Rosa is obsessed with her clothing design. An imaginary friend, Minnie, guides Rosa in learning how to sew and design unusual clothing. Justus' sister is smart, sharp­tongued and quirky, and keeps Justus on his toes with her snappy comments. Normal will never be the same for Justus after three unusual people move into the abandoned house next door and barge into his life. Enter an obese giantess named June with an obsession for mall food and her so-called son, Apollo, and daughter, Diana. Once their divinity is revealed as rebellious gods on the lam from Mount Olympus, the adventure ramps up as an egg-shaped lake and an ancient Native American serpent mound must be saved from destruction. Justus grows into the challenge of making smart decisions on his own in how to juggle the tangled problems that develop, with saving the world at the top of the list.

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