A decade after the movie (that we don’t talk about) and two years since it was first announced, season 1 of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians TV show will be dropping this December! Whether you’ve already started your reread of the series, or you’re looking to dive back in (water pun unintended, haha) with fresh eyes, we already know eight episodes will not be enough for those of us who love thoughtful and immersive fantasy. Thankfully, we have a great list of magical coming-of-age book recommendations to keep you going until the show comes out, and during the hiatus after the season ends.
Twelve-year-old Lia Park knows a thing or two about having her parents kidnapped by a mythological being in exchange for a magical item they believe she has, and so must travel to find. After her one act of rebellion breaks an ancient spell that protected her family, Lia must venture to the undersea kingdom of the Dragon King in Korea to save her parents from an evil diviner spirit.
Like Percy, Erin discovers she has an unexpected godly parent; hers is the Roman god of love, Cupid, and on her thirteenth birthday she inherits the power to make people fall in love. Unlike Percy, she can’t pull her school rival into a fountain, but she can make him fall in love with her so he’ll drop out of the running for club president. But when Erin realizes Trevor may not be as bad as she thought, her first foray into love and power gets a lot more complicated.
Onyeka and Percy in The Lightning Thief could definitely compare notes: when her best friend almost drowns, Onyeka’s voluminous curly hair takes on a life of its own to save her, and Onyeka’s mother whisks her daughter off to the Academy of the Sun, a Nigerian school where kids with Solari powers are trained. But Onyeka and her new friends soon have to put their powers to the test as they find themselves embroiled in a momentous battle between truth and lies.
Speaking of Arthurian legends, this beloved fantasy epic follows the awakening of eleven-year-old Will Stanton, who discovers he is actually an immortal plunged into a quest across time for six magical Signs. If you love intricate worldbuilding, kids who intelligently negotiate with cosmic powers, and mysterious mythological figures, this series highlights Celtic folklore and Arthuriana in a classic tale of the Light vs. the Dark.
The Percy Jackson series only briefly touches on Arachne, Athena, and Annabeth’s subsequent aversion to spiders; this sapphic young adult novel-in-verse centers Arachne and gives her backstory a voice. If you’re looking for more Greek mythology centering complex women, this is a thoughtful and sweeping story of love, pride, justice, and redemption.
Besides the obvious allusions in this title and cover, Skandar is more prepared than Percy for a “Chosen One” destiny – he's spent years studying for the magical exam that selects a handful of thirteen-year-olds to train to become unicorn riders – but even then, he still isn’t ready for the magical threats rising against him. I just think Blackjack and Rascal’s Chance would have the funniest conversations.
You cannot tell me that Annabeth and Bree wouldn’t be besties: they’re both smart, strong, driven, and carrying much more than they ever should at a young age. (In this house, we’re beyond thrilled to see Leah Jeffries embody the iconic Wise Girl!) In Tracy Deonn’s contemporary fantasy series and Arthuriana reimagining, Bree has her own axe to grind against mythological figures manipulating their descendants for their own ends.
From one demigod to another, Rue has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry and discovers she must save both the human and godly worlds. When her mother is suddenly taken from her, Rue is taken to live in a ruthless society of magic wielders. She must embrace her true identity and access the full magnitude of her ancestors’ power to save her sister and her neighborhood before the gods burn it to the ground.