Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: The Dig by Audrey Hart

Title:  The Dig (Zoe and Zeus Trilogy #1)
Author:  Audrey Hart
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Backlit Fiction 
Format:  Ebook
Release Date:  November 7, 2011

Zoe is an outsider.  She’s not interested in the same boring, lame stuff all of the girls at her boarding school are interested in—things like constantly updating her Facebook, watching Teen Mom or talking about boys. She would rather discuss ancient history or spend her summers digging up ancient relics with her aunt and uncle.  It is on one of these archeological digs that Zoe’s life changes forever. While investigating an ancient temple in Crete, Zoe is inexplicably transported back in time to ancient Greece. She soon discovers that the Gods are real, living, breathing humans and for some reason, she is just as powerful as they are. But they refuse to accept Zoe. In fact, Zoe has thrown the balance of nature completely out of whack and the Gods will stop at nothing to set it right. Only the gorgeous, winged god Zeus will risk everything to save her.

The Dig is a fun romp through ancient Greece, with a bit of Greek mythology thrown in for good measure. Zoe is a smart, funny and completely relatable character. At the beginning of the book, she is a good role model for young teens, especially those who travel a bit off the beaten path (I said “at the beginning of the book” because Zoe’s attitude changes a bit—more on that later).  The Dig is a simple, quick read, perfect for those reluctant readers who hate picking up a lengthy book and plowing through it. There are a lot of pop culture references also, which made for some interesting conversations with Zoe attempting to explain Kim Kardashian or Facebook to someone in ancient Greece. I also liked Hart’s twist on the Olympian Gods; it gave The Dig a bit of Mean Girls nastiness and snark.  Hart doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously, which definitely shows through in her writing and the plot of The Dig.  She gives it her all and holds nothing back.  I commend her for not being afraid to tell her story the way she wants to tell it.

My biggest issue with this book was Zoe’s very rushed relationship with Zeus. She literally falls for him after spending just a few hours with him. And I felt that she became the type of girl she seemed to look down on at the beginning of the book. Her entire world became all about Zeus and how she could stay with him. Because this is a trilogy, maybe the love story between Zoe and Zeus could have been stretched out a bit. This is the primary reason I felt that Zoe was a good role model at the book’s beginning, but she seemed to lose that quality a bit as the book progressed.      

Also, I do feel that The Dig is a bit simplistic. I am not sure older, more mature teens will appreciate the humor and laid-back attitude present in the story. I know my girls would not enjoy it.  And the pop culture references will be obsolete in about ten years, making this a book with questionable longevity issues.  I do think it is a great story for middle-grade readers, like sixth, seventh or eighth graders, especially those looking for a good, quick story.  I would definitely recommend it to my students at the junior-high level. If you are looking for a funny, quick read, this is the book for you.

My grade for The Dig by Audrey Hart:        

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