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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Athena in the Icebox by Demi K is the continuation of a series of memoirs that champions the young, rebellious teenager from New England, Athena Angelopolous. Of Greek extraction, Athena, or Tina as she prefers to be known, is running from her abusive and controlling mother who along with her father owns and runs a restaurant in New England. Determined to get away from home, she decides to move as far away from New England as possible. After gathering up her few possessions and saying goodbye to her small circle of friends, she hops on a plane that will eventually take her to the frozen wilderness of Alaska. Escaping one difficult situation, Athena soon finds herself in a world she knows nothing about. The people living in Alaska all seem to be like her; running from something down south, or local Alaskans who are as weird and strange as any people she has ever met. Born with psychic powers that she doesn’t understand yet, naïve and vulnerable to the ways of the world, Athena is in for a rude awakening as she encounters everything from Neo-Nazis to spaced-out and drugged-up locals. Fitting in is all Athena wants but this will prove to be a difficult task in this strange and foreign environment.
Athena in the Icebox is a memoir unlike any I have read in the past. Told by Demi K from the viewpoint of a young woman just entering adulthood, it is full of quirky characters, weird psychic energy, and a whole plethora of amusing and, at times, downright odd situations. The author’s style is relaxed, conversational, and ironic. Despite Athena’s rebellious and snarky nature, it is hard not to like and empathize with her character. I have not read the first books in this series but I can assure readers that is not necessary as the author does an excellent job in setting the scene for this memoir and then teasing readers with what is to come next. I particularly enjoyed the ethnic mix of Eastern Europeans who made up many of the characters in this story. The irony of leaving an area wracked with turmoil and warfare to seek a better life in America and then end up in the frozen wastes of Alaska, yet still consider yourself well off, left a smile on this reader’s face. I also enjoyed the serendipities and interesting chance encounters that occurred in Athena’s journey that served to reinforce the idea there is something greater than ourselves watching over our journey of life and intervening when appropriate. This is a gentle, fun read and one that I can highly recommend.