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									430                                               The Horn Book Magazine

Sprout’s description of events culminates in a painful betrayal. The end
of the book finds him at the state essay contest, pencil poised for some
much-needed self-examination (“I have a secret. And everyone knows it
but me”). Structurally effective, caustically entertaining, unpreachy, and
thought-provoking, Sprout is a satisfying look at the truths one young
man unearths about himself. elissa gershowitz

Rick Riordan The Last Olympian
  381 pp. Disney/Hyperion 5/09 isbn 978-1-4231-0147-5 $17.99
  (Middle School)
The battle between the Olympians and the Titan Kronos (inhabiting the
body of the demigod Luke) comes to a head in this fifth (and final)
installment of the Percy Jackson saga. Percy and the other demigod
campers at Camp Half-Blood are running military raids on Kronos’s
monster forces, but Poseidon is under attack, a Titan disguised as a
storm system is bearing down on Olympus in New York City, and
Percy’s sixteenth birthday, on which it is prophesied that he will make
a fateful choice, is approaching. Faced with overwhelming odds, Percy
follows Achilles’s route, dipping himself in the Styx to achieve near-
invulnerability, and becomes an unstoppable leader for the demigod
defenders as the monsters attack New York. It is Percy’s visions of
Luke’s past life and his friend Annabeth’s involvement, however, that
help him make his birthday choice. Once young and unsure, Percy and
his friends have matured into battle-tested veterans with easy strength
and a foxhole sense of humor, a summer-blockbuster sensibility that
helps explain the popularity of the series. The companions who aided
Percy through his adventures in the previous books are strong allies
here, and Percy’s romance with Annabeth, long in the cards, heats up at
last. At book’s end, Kronos is defeated and peace reigns—but there are
enough openings to believe the demigods will still be adventuring long
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