“Gods of Manhattan” by Scott Mebus
I’m on a crusade to read more ‘fantasy’ books that appeal to guys as well as girls. “Gods of Manhattan” is one. I had seen it recommended to readers who like the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series—that would be me! So I read “Gods.” While I found it much choppier than the Percy Jackson books—and sometimes lacking explanation for the hierarchy of the spirit world—it is a fast, fun book.
Thirteen-year-old Rory Hennessy, who doesn’t believe in magic, acts as a ‘volunteer’ for a magician who performs true magic at Rory’s sister’s ninth birthday party. Suddenly, much that appears to be magic comes to light. Rory sees weird stuff—a cockroach riding a rat, a Munsee Indian who appears to have come from an earlier century. How can this be?
Rory discovers that he is a “Light”—someone mortal who can see into the spirit world of Manhattan—known as ‘Mannahatta’ in the novel. Real historical folks from New York are alive in this spirit world as gods of many, often mundane, things. You could impress your teachers with a book report that mentions Peter Stuyvesant, John Jacob Astor, Walt Whitman, Alexander Hamilton, Horace Greeley, Babe Ruth, Zelda Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker.
Basically the spirit world is in trouble and it’s up to Rory to help save Manhattan. There’s a murderer on the loose—one that is killing gods. A second problem is that the Munsee Indian spirits are locked in Central Park and cannot escape the curse that keeps them there. Rory wishes to free them. And he and his sister Bridget (who is a pretty tough little kid) have many cool adventures while trying.