"After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There's little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus. "
The opening book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series brings us straight into the mind the main protagonist - Perseus Jackson, age 12, demigod. Riordan wrote the book so well, it's easy to imagine you really are reading Percy's thoughts on his roller coaster ride through pre-teendom.
Percy has one foot in two worlds - much like many pre-teens - and teens. Its the time in your life where you are no longer a child but you aren't an adult yet either, and it's hard to figure out who you are and who you want to be. The Lightning Thief follows Percy and his friends through one of many adventures that lead them down the road of discovery - and not just in their lives. They discover the truths of the world around them and begin to realize that things aren't always quite what they seem.
And sometimes, it really is just an oddly colored poodle.
The Lightning Thief is also a great way to begin learning Greek Mythology. I knew some of the basics - Poseidon is the god of the sea, Zeus the sky and king of Olympus, Hades is god of the Underworld married to Persephone and so on. Basic stuff. Before reading Percy Jackson, I didn't even know how Achilles became (semi)invincible, or that Artemis was the goddess of the hunt (I did know she was twin to Apollo and goddess of the moon).
Anyway, I recommend Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief to all readers - young and old!