Shana Norris: “Troy High”

Troy High

YA Novel
Pages: 259
First Published: 2009

Synopsis: What if Helen of Troy went to your high school?

Homer’s Iliad, a classic tale of love and revenge, is shrewdly retold for teens in Troy High. Narrated by Cassie, a shy outsider who fears that an epic high school rivalry is about to go up in flames, the story follows the battling Trojans and Spartans as they declare war on the football field. After the beautiful Elena – who used to be the captain of the Spartan cheerleaders – transfers to Troy High and falls madly in love with Cassie’s brother Perry, the Spartans vow that the annual homecoming game will never be forgotten.

The Trojans and Spartans pull wicked pranks on each other as homecoming approaches. And the Spartans’ wild-card football star, Ackley, promises to take down the Trojans’ offensive line. But the stakes are raised when Cassie is forced to choose between the boy she loves (a Spartan) and loyalty to her family and school. Troy High will seduce readers with its incendiary cast of mythic proportions.

My Thoughts: Oh my god, consider this reader seduced. The Trojan War in a modern day high school! I feel like just the fact that this book exists has improved my life tenfold. I can’t even bring myself to criticise its awkward writing, unrealistic dialogue, one-dimensional characters and the fact that Achilles has been renamed Ackley when the back cover shows a TPed bank of lockers with the words “TRAITOR! TROY WILL FALL!” spray painted on them! This book needs to be made into a ridiculous teen movie as soon as possible, and when it is I will go watch it five times.

Point form can only try to contain the rest of this awesomeness:

· Agamemnon and Cassandra are an actual romantic couple in this book (and they meet at band camp!!). I had to keep forcing myself to forget that Greg is the Agamemnon character, because every time I remembered I got squicked. out. The Author’s Note ends with “[Cassie and Greg’s] story has a much happier ending than the one about Agamemnon and Cassandra!” Understatement of the year?

· I’m confused by the part of the synopsis that claims that Elena was the captain of the Spartan cheerleaders. I’m pretty sure that was never actually said in the book. (Then again, I read it in one sitting, and it could easily have addled my brain.) I was also confused when Elena and Perry (another new name I didn’t care for) weren’t homecoming king and queen, but maybe I’ve just watched “Hercules and the Trojan War” too many times. (In case any of you were worried that there’s only one Trojan War retelling set in a high school, feel free to relax. There are at least two!)

· There is a character named Paul Baker who shows up a few times near the end of the book, and every time he did I burst out laughing because he was always introduced as “Paul Baker,” and I had no idea why! Like, was that supposed to be some kind of a hint about him or the story? Is his last name important somehow? I enjoyed pretending I was Alex of Alex Reads Twilight, except that instead of “Who the fuck is Lauren?” I was sitting there asking, “Who is Paul Baker??” Another way this book reminded me of Twilight is that Cassie’s unpopularity is exactly as inexplicable as Bella’s popularity. And now I have to stop talking about Twilight because it’s tainting this page.

· It was a little weird to me that Cassie knows the story of the Trojan War (there’s apparently even a mural of the story painted on the walls of the Troy High cafeteria) and yet never connects any of the people or events in her life to characters or events in the story beyond a general “Troy and Sparta had a war once too!” I don’t think it would’ve enhanced the book had she noticed, but I think I would’ve preferred her to be ignorant of the story because this way it’s just weird.

· Gotta say, the whole wrath of Achilles thing was a lot less interesting on the football field than on the battlefield. I mean, Ackley has to get revenge because Patrick has been … benched? Also, I loved how this book’s version of the oath of the horse was “Lucas says we can’t be on the team if we don’t help him!” Dramatic! Also also, I was really disappointed when no one turned out to be hiding in this version of the wooden horse. Actually disappointed!!

· I thought I had more to say about this book than I do. Pretty much if you think you’ll like it, you probably will, and if you don’t think you’ll like it then you won’t. I thought this book would be amazing and hilarious and it definitely was. I can’t even lie, I am kind of sad that I finished it. I should write Norris and ask if there’s any chance for a sequel. A retelling of the Odyssey starring Owen? Or hey – maybe Paul Baker is Aeneas?!

· I like to pick out ~dramatic lines~ to feature in these reviews, and I must say that, compared to your average Trojan War novel, Troy High is really lacking in ~dramatic lines~! Here’s one I found:

I pushed Greg away as hard as I could and ran toward Troy High burning in the distance.

Oh yeah. She went there.

I also feel the need to quote this next bit, because it is too ridiculous not to:

Perry’s bedroom door opened and he walked into the hall, his cell phone pressed to his ear. “I miss you too, snuggle bear,” he cooed.

Snuggle bear? Gag me.

Hunter snatched the phone out of Perry’s hand and hung it up.

“Hey!” Perry exclaimed.

“You can talk to your girlfriend at school,” Hunter said.

Truly this is the greatest novel ever based on the greatest story ever told.

Buy it at: Amazon.com, Amazon.ca

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3 Responses to “Shana Norris: “Troy High””

  1. this book was…is the GREATEST book ever! Its like a history lesson in teenage life! I read this book 3 times- in a row!

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