My Best Friend Athena

My Best Friend Athena
Publisher Name
Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC
Age Range
Release Date
February 07, 2023
Fanny Fitzpatrick has the coolest best friend ever. Athena is smart, and pretty, and brave, and kind. Fanny loves her friend, but sometimes, she feels a little jealous of how perfect Athena is.
But even "perfect" girls make mistakes, and Athena makes a big one when she accidentally turns the school bully into a cockroach. He was picking on their friend Gemma and Athena lost her temper and her magic powers just slipped out right in front of Fanny.
Now Fanny knows that Athena isn't an ordinary girl - she's the reincarnation of a Greek goddess, powers and all - and now she needs Fanny and Gemma's help to hunt down the bully-turned-cockroach and turn him back into a human boy.

Fanny doesn't want to spend all her time looking for a cockroach. She's got the Junior Miss Super Pretty Pageant to prepare for, if she can get over her stage fright. Besides, Athena's Dad, Zeus, has forbidden the girls from meddling with any more cockroaches or magic, and Zeus is a god you don't want to mess with.

Fanny has to make a choice. Should she pursue her pageant dreams, or risk Zeus' wrath to find the cockroach-boy? What's the right thing to do? And how do you hunt down a cockroach anyway?

Editor review

1 review
Doing the right thing
Overall rating
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What worked:
The first few chapters sound like a normal middle-grade book with kids adjusting to a return to school. Fanny’s best friend is Athena, the most popular girl in the building and Gemma is a good friend riding in a wheelchair. Then, it’s revealed Athena is THE Athena from Greek mythology and the dynamics change a bit. The author doesn’t spend much time explaining why she’s currently in an eleven-year-old’s body although the friends ask for some answers. This revelation establishes a humorous scenario where three young girls navigate the challenges of growing up with a goddess best friend.
Fanny realizes she has a talent for singing but is afraid to perform on stage. She begins to imagine a future where she sings in public but that will never happen if she can’t overcome her fear. Many young readers can identify with some form of this dilemma and it’s the main focus of the plot. A pageant is introduced to the plot and Fanny thinks it might help her learn how to share her ability during the talent portion of the show. The author adds a complication when Athena decides to support her friend by joining the pageant too. Athena believes these kinds of contests are sexist so she wants to add some feminism to the proceedings. Having an immortal goddess in the story with strong opinions presents a volatile situation for everybody.
Athena creates a major conflict by accidentally losing control of her powers and changing a bully into a cockroach and this becomes the main problem to solve. Fanny and Athena are determined to change him back, even if he’s a “douche”, while Gemma has different thoughts. The main problem is trying to find the cockroach after it runs away. Athena’s father, Zeus, has forbidden Athena from revealing her true identity to humans which adds a twist to the plot. He’s not known for being an understanding, patient god so the threat of his wrath adds to the tension.
What didn’t work as well:
As mentioned, the author doesn’t spend much time explaining Athena’s status as a goddess. On the one hand, she’s not supposed to be a goddess anymore so why does she still have powers? Fanny questions this contradiction but it’s left unexplained. Also, the limits of Athena’s abilities are unclear so the vagueness may bother some readers.
The Final Verdict:
This book shares a very entertaining story where a god and goddess aren’t displaying their domination over humans. The author adds dashes of humor while addressing a couple of middle-grade issues, bullying and self-confidence, in a creative way. I highly recommend you give it a shot.
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