Mad Max & Sweet Sarah

Greek Mythology Fantasy Series Book 3

Children - Coming of Age
128 Pages
Reviewed on 05/07/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Ellie Collins wrote her debut novel, Daisy, Bold & Beautiful when she was turning eleven and just beginning sixth grade. She finished writing Mylee In The Mirror, the second in her multi-award-winning middle-grade Greek mythology fantasy series before heading back to school for seventh grade and turning twelve and Mad Max & Sweet Sarah before eighth grade and becoming a teen. She writes amid a very busy extracurricular schedule, including a spot on both a gymnastics team and a trampoline and tumbling team, as well as taking weekly piano lessons. She's an avid gamer who loves hanging out with friends. Her love of Greek mythology inspires her writing.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

In Ellie Collins’s educational coming-of-age book, Mad Max & Sweet Sarah, Max leaves his home in O’ahu, Hawaii for Seattle, Washington to reconnect with his estranged father. As the plane arrives in Seattle, Max thinks of the next two weeks of his life with dread. His first meeting with his father and his family is awkward and Max cannot wait to go back home to escape his half-sister, who he finds annoying. Things get worse when he meets Aaron who misguides him and Max ends up making disastrous mistakes. But Sarah, his half-sister, will not be deterred in creating the kind of relationship she had envisioned with Max. Just when everything appears irreversible, A Greek mystical figure helps Sarah find the answers she is looking for.

Ellie Collins puts forward important lessons in Mad Max & Sweet Sarah. The story encourages young readers to look out for important common goals that bring people together instead of concentrating on divisive, minor issues. Max learns he has something in common with a rival and a friendship is forged. The language of the book is cognizant of the target audience. Social media plays a key role in Sarah’s communication. The story also encourages young people not to fall victim to peer pressure but to evaluate each decision they make before acting. The inclusion of Greek mythology also adds an intriguing element to the plot as Athena comes to Sarah’s rescue. Mad Max & Sweet Sarah is a brief read that carries important lessons presented through the experiences of its characters.

A. L. Peevey

In Mad Max & Sweet Sarah: Greek Mythology Fantasy Series Book 3 by Ellie Collins, Maddox leaves Hawaii and flies to Seattle for a two-week visit with his father’s family. He has been coaxed by his mother to connect with his father, whom he does not really know. All Max wants to do is turn around and fly home. Enter his half-sister, Sarah, who is over-the-top thrilled and excited to meet her half-brother for the first time. Her enthusiasm for winning over her “new” big brother baffles Max, but Sarah truly wants to connect with Max for keeps. He just wants to get this two-week familial boot camp over with so that he can return to his beloved Hawaii and his Hawaiian family. Having several confrontations with some of the local boys and an argument with his father about it may be the last straw Max needs to go home. Desperate, Sarah finds a mythological ally, but will it be enough to keep Max in Seattle?

Mad Max & Sweet Sarah by Ellie Collins is a well-written book. The author realistically portrays the ins and outs and the flexible parameters of many of today’s families as well as the angst and interactions of youth. As written and described, Max and Sarah could be just about any average member of their age groups. Nevertheless, the introduction of fantastical, or better, mythical elements into the book does not weaken this portrayal. In fact, we realize that gods and goddesses do not seem so terribly different from our own mortal selves, despite their otherworldly abilities. Readers will be cheering for a satisfying resolution to Max and Sarah’s story and will certainly be enticed to check out the other books in this series as well.

Mamta Madhavan

Max was excited as the plane slowly rolled to the gate at Seattle airport. He felt nervous about meeting his father for the first time in sixteen years. It had never seemed important to him back home, but he felt uncomfortable, wondering if he would be rejected again. He could feel that his father was uneasy but Max thought he would give the charade two weeks. When he reached home, he met Sarah, who was dying to get to know her half-brother who was going to be with them the whole summer. Max was surprised because he thought he was going to be with them for just two weeks. His father had even arranged a job for him as a lifeguard at a local pool. He wondered how he could share DNA with someone like Sarah who talked so fast and wore a matching tutu with a dog. After an argument with her brother, Sarah was reading and she noticed the words forming a shape on the page. The words spoke clearly and a woman introduced herself as Athena, the Greek goddess of war and wisdom...

Mad Max & Sweet Sarah (Greek Mythology Fantasy Series Book 3 by Ellie Collins is a fantastical story with the backdrop of Greek mythology which makes it entertaining and exciting to young readers. The story also conveys life lessons in a wonderful manner, making it easy for readers to understand. There is never a dull moment in the story from the moment Max lands in Seattle and readers will stay glued to the book, curious to know how it ends. The narration is fluid and detailed and that gives a good pace and movement to the plot. All the characters are well portrayed, making them real and relatable, and knitting Greek mythology into the plot adds to the fantasy and whimsy of the story. The book is also a good way to introduce readers to Greek mythology and encourage them to learn more about the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Sarah is super excited that her older brother, Max, is coming for a visit. She’s never met Max. They’re half-siblings. Max has lived all his life in Hawaii and he’s not overly thrilled to be visiting the father and sister he’s never met. Especially since they live near Seattle, which is not as warm as Hawaii and certainly not conducive to surfing – his passion. Upon his arrival, his father informs him that he’s secured a lifeguard job for Max for the summer. Not a good way to start off the getting-to-know-you, father-son thing. And, with a lifeguard colleague set on making Max feel totally miserable about everything and everyone around him, there is definitely something evil at play, causing more conflict and discord than there should be. Sarah’s intent on being close to her brother and she wants to make things right, so when a Greek goddess appears with a solution and a remedy, Sarah is all for it. But it won’t be easy. And nothing is ever guaranteed.

Ellie Collins’s fantasy novel, Mad Max & Sweet Sarah: Greek Mythology Fantasy Series Book 3, is a fascinating read that includes mystery, magic, and a good dose of family dynamics, especially at the teenage level. The characters are believable and well developed and the plot follows two points of view, Max’s and Sarah’s, both with clear labels to identify whose point of view is being shared. The dialogue is very appropriate for the teenage group. The introduction of some Greek mythology and some elements of fantasy add a little spice to the family drama. Definitely a good read for teens and up.

Tammy Ruggles

Mad Max and Sweet Sarah by Ellie Collins is a young adult/coming of age/fantasy novella about a young girl named Sarah who longs to have a relationship with her older half-brother Max, who she's never met before. When he arrives from Hawaii, it's not the rosiest of sibling scenarios, especially when their dad enters the picture, but she tries hard to make it better, calling on the help of the mythical Greek goddess Athena, who is in a similar situation with her own brother. The question is, can Sarah and Athena come up with a plan to mend their sibling relations? This is book 3 of a series and is the perfect length for an afternoon read, or for grade-schoolers or junior high kids to devour in one sitting.

Collins writes the story and characters with a fun, easy style that will have you instantly hooked, and that's important for young readers whose attention span may be on the short side. But once you get into the story, you become lost in the world of this family and Sarah's quest and shared mission with Athena: To have an honest, real relationship with her older brother. This book will make you think about your own sibling relationships, how circumstances can bring you together or keep you apart, and how a little effort in maintaining them can go a long way. If you haven't read the first two books, this third installment will make you want to. I am especially fond of Max, who is a well-drawn, realistic character. Mad Max and Sweet Sarah, by Ellie Collins, is a great summer read--a little gem you won't want to pass up.