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Goddess of Yesterday

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  2,929 Ratings  ·  219 Reviews
At age six Anaxandra is taken by King Nicander to be a companion to his crippled daughter on the island of Siphnos. Anaxandra has adjusted to her new life when, six years later, Siphnos is sacked by pirates, and she is the sole survivor. When a fleet of ships stops on the island to investigate, she assumes the identity of Princess Callisto to survive. The ships belong to M ...more
Paperback, 263 pages
Published November 11th 2003 by Laurel Leaf Library (first published June 11th 2002)
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Nov 06, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This book confirmed my theory that Helen of Troy was a spoiled ... um ... witch. Just think about this: you've been told your whole life that you are the most beautiful woman alive. That you are the daughter of a god, and more beautiful than the goddesses in heaven. Kidnapped repeatedly by eager suitors, married to a king . . . what kind of person would this make you?

The answer, according to Cooney: a horrible person. A person who thinks the world revolves around you, and doesn't care who she to
Mar 21, 2012 TheBookSmugglers rated it liked it
(more like 3 and 1/2 stars)

Anaxandra is six years old when King Nicander comes to the small island of her childhood and takes her away as a tribute and to be a companion to his sickly daughter Callisto. Unable to ever return to her family, Anaxandra comes to feel at home at Siphnos and to love her adopted family and for six years life goes unchanged. Until pirates attack the island and Anaxandra is the sole survivor. She is then rescued by King Menelaus of Sparta and afraid to be taken as a slav
Lisa Rathbun
Jan 18, 2014 Lisa Rathbun rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that I read YA lit for! At first, I thought it would be fantasy, but I would categorize this as historic fiction because, while people speak as if the gods and goddesses were real, nothing happens that couldn't happen in real life. The reader gets a picture of what life was like in ancient times both normal days and the sudden, harsh violence that could destroy your world in a moment as fierce raiders, hungry for glory, gold, and slaves, descend upon you from the sea. ...more
Feb 21, 2015 Mkatherinejohnson rated it it was ok
I enjoyed reading this book, and it makes me sad to give it only two stars.
I loved the way it gave me a look into the time period and the way of life on the little Greek islands and in Troy. The settings, details, and descriptions were nice, and I felt like I was there with the characters.
I didn't like the set up of the plot. The book wasn't a thriller, but it had its exciting moments.
Many of the characters were interesting physically, but not personality-wise.
When I try, I can't even name an
A believably brutal and beautifully written retelling of the legend around Paris and Helena of Troy, which focuses on a fictional and likable character, Anaxandra, a pirate lord's daughter who at the age of six is taken as a hostage by King Nicander and poses later as his deceased daughter Callisto, when Menelaus of Sparta drops by after the island is raided, depeopled and destroyed.

Like everybody I had always thought Helena to be pretty selfish: She lets a huge mass of people tumble into a bloo
I'm no classicist, but I flatter myself that I know a bit more about ancient Greek history than the average Joe. But Cooney gave me a completely new perspective on the character of Helen, Paris and Menelaus. They became, for want of a better word, believable. As is so often the case, a wonderful book has been relegated to the YA shelves just because the protagonist is a young girl. Don't let that label keep you from reading this excellent tale. [Audiobook note: At first, I thought the narrator's ...more
Feb 22, 2008 Laurie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mythology fans
Recommended to Laurie by: Shannon Hale
I wish I could give this book 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed it. Great story! I loved how the author enterwinded fact with fiction. The book had me on the "edge of my seat" as it were, for the entire last half of the book up to the very last page. She ended it nicely. I wasn't left wanting but the last 50 pages, at least, were intense!

If you are a mythology fan I HIGHLY recommned it!
Laura Leonard
Mar 14, 2008 Laura Leonard rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who liked Troy, True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle & Bloody Jack.
Shelves: teen, fantasy
Anaxandra is taken from her home island when she is six, so that she can be a companion to Princess Callisto. Six years later, her new home island is attacked by pirates and she is the sole survivor. She takes on the identity of Princess Callisto and is taken to Sparta with King Menelaus. This is how she becomes involved with Menelaus' wife, Helen of Troy, and the following war.

Kerry Hennigan
Sep 23, 2012 Kerry Hennigan rated it it was amazing
I've had this little young adults' paperback for years, from the time I collected anything, fiction and non-fiction, on the fall of Troy. I certainly didn't do myself any favours by leaving this one unread for so long, because it's an excellent re-imagining of the familiar tale.

The narrator is a young girl who is taken as hostage by the king of the island kingdom of Siphnos. On the island she becomes a valued companion to the Princess Callisto. When the island is raided by Trojans the girl, Anax
Jun 03, 2013 Evelyn rated it it was ok
Better than I thought it would be. Might have liked it more if 40% of the book wasn't given away on the back cover; might have liked it even better if the detail of Anaxamandra's Red Hair was not brought up so often. About to sound a little bitter, but what is so alluring about it? And why so ubiquitous? I can forgive it a little because Menelaus had red hair and so it was kind of a plot point, but remain somewhat peeved. Is it so precious that Anax would cry over losing it and call the gods mea ...more
The cover of my book was much more prosaic- an irish looking red haired girl on the cover. I enjoyed this. Be aware, this is a book for 13 and up. The realities of being female in such a time. The heroine is physicallly still a child, so escapes sexual violence. But her life and livelihood are always tenuous. Characters are murdered, in great detail, cruelty happens, innocents are cast adrift. But given that i have read several Roman/Greek era books, the gritty realism is all part of the "charm" ...more
I found the main character of Goddess of Yesterday to be quite annoying and inconsistent. Unfortunately this was due in large part to the writing, which was stilted, choppy at times and just bland overall. The book begins with Anaxander being six, however, neither her voice nor the writing improve when she doubles in age. Overall Anaxander was too naive and intolerable for this reader. I especially found her Medusa impression to be beyond belief, even in this fantastical telling. Anaxander comes ...more
May 29, 2012 Mell rated it really liked it
I don't normally give 4 stars to such short books, because there usually isn't enough time to build characters and storylines that I can get into. But Cooney packs a great story into this little paperback. I loved reading Greek mythology and The Iliad in high school, so returning to this topic was fun.

Anaxandra is a strong character and a vivid narrator as she witnesses events leading to the Trojan War. She gives insight into life during the Greek age, explaining the culture and religions of the
Ceara Adams
Nov 14, 2013 Ceara Adams rated it really liked it
This book is really a must-read!

It follows a girl named Anaxandra, who is swept off to be the playmate of Princess Callisto on the island of Siphnos. But when Siphnos gets sacked, she must take over of the identity of Callisto to keep her life. She gets swept on a whirlwind of adventures, traveling to new islands and meeting the sons and daughters of Gods.

When I first picked up the book, i was skeptical because it is set in roughly around 1250 B.C. in Greece. Upon discovering this, my immediate
Jan 03, 2010 Beth added it
A whole new view of Helen of Troy, the woman whose face launched a thousand ships, is delivered through the eyes of Anaxandra, a sailor's daughter masquerading as a princess after being captured by invaders. Not just a pretty face, Helen is a shrewd and poisonous viper, suspicious of the new girl in her home. Anaxandra/Calisto comes to love her new home and makes quick friends, but trying to stay one jump ahead of the lovely yet black-hearted adulteress queen is exhausting. Will her impostering ...more
Shayla Smith
Apr 21, 2009 Shayla Smith rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It was different from the usual Trojan War books that i've read. One of the main differences is that Helen is a "Bad guy" and that this book sides with the Greeks rather than the trojans.

The book is about Anaxandra, a slave that is brought from her home to a kingdom to play with the king's crippled daughter Callisto. The kingdom is attacked and Anaxandra is the sole survivor. She is found by King Menelaus and is taken to Sparta under the alias of Callisto. She ends up going to
Jun 26, 2007 Nikki rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this for the second time (April 2008). An absolutely incredible book. Definitely one that should not be judged by its (unfortunate) cover. The research alone that went into the setting of this book makes every page an amazing experience, but I also love love love the characters and the plot is so compelling. I want to read it over and over.
Aug 30, 2008 Ann rated it really liked it
Anazandra's story stands alone even without the backdrop of Helen of Troy, but the more one knows about the events leading to the Trojan War, the more fascinating it is to see how Cooney plays one girl's story against that history.
Dec 23, 2013 Gem rated it did not like it
So this book ends up being about Helen of Troy and not the main character, which is stupid and overdone
Aug 06, 2010 Ian rated it did not like it
This book ruined my innocence. I was emotionally scarred.
Katie rated it really liked it
Mar 07, 2017
Jan 08, 2017 Gigi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I don't much to say except for that this book is fascinating. I really hope everyone who loves a good book will read this.
This was one of my favorite books when I was growing up.


There is a huge range of novels out there concerning the Trojan War and the men and women whose lives were changed by the great event - so many books in fact, that it is difficult to find one that doesn't feel stale and predictable (after all, no author can really make shocking twists and turns in a war whose outcome is already known). Like books concerning the King Arthur legends, the Trojan War as a subject for a book is rapidly becoming
Arec Rain
Aug 14, 2010 Arec Rain rated it it was amazing
First off, I should say that I absolutely love Greek mythology. I do not consider myself sufficiently schooled in the subject, but it is a passion of mine. I do not, however, like reading about the Trojan War. Therefore, I was a bit iffy when I request this book from book swap on . After reading it, I was pleased that the novel barely touched on the war.

There are so many thing that I love about this book that I don’t know if I can even fit it all into one review. I normally do no
J. Else
I was very impressed with this story and where it went. The author has beautiful descriptions. As a reworking of a traditional tale, this story comes alive with an original character and new perspectives.

The author laces historical beliefs and rules and creates a relatable tale. It’s a great time period to explore. The main character, Anaxandra, goes through a lot of growth. She learns about the different societies and takes the readers along in her observations. I really like the details the au
Keri (Va-Voom!)
I adored this book. 4.5 stars! This book is beautifully written. I came across it by accident because it was a book that was available as an ebook download from my library. The book is based on Greek mythology and the writings of Homer ("The Illiad" and "The Odyssey.") Ms. Cooney takes the story of Helen ("The face that launched a thousand ships,") Paris, Menelaus, and Agamemnon and makes it even richer with the addition of the story of Anaxandra. Anaxandra seems cursed by the gods. She is given ...more
Jan 30, 2013 Janita rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
One of my favourite books, Caroline B. Cooney’s Goddess of Yesterday is a beautiful and gripping tale of Troy. Compelling characters, a love interest, and a ravishing villain are woven in subtly and with finesse. Anaxandra (turned Callisto) wrestles with her place in Greek society as she tries to survive the turmoils of pirates, abduction, and persecution at the hands of the awe-inspiring but terrible Helen.

Anaxandra’s voice is young but relatable. She speaks as a character on so many levels, ex
Aug 15, 2014 Saluxstrosi rated it really liked it
Closer to a 4.5

This was my second time reading through this book and that in itself says something.l Photographic memory kills rereading books for me and this one waited a solid 8 years before I could reread it. First time reading it, I was 15 years old, just barely getting my foot in the door for both mythology and becoming a reading addict. It was a good book that was both easy to read and hooked me in when (view spoiler). I mean
Feb 23, 2012 Dawn rated it really liked it
I was loaned this book on tape (yes, tape!) by a friend. She thought I might like the book. I listened to the first half of the first tape and thought, why am I still listening...??? I kept going and that was the last time I had that thought.

Caroline Cooney spins an amazing tale about ancient Greece and Troy. She starts when Anaxandra is a six year old hostage from a siege on her home island. She is taken to live with King Nicander to be a playmate for the Princess Callisto, a crippled girl near
Leah Beecher
Jan 29, 2014 Leah Beecher rated it really liked it
I read this book aloud with my 5th and 6th grade daughters as supplement reading for our home school study of Ancient Greece. Let me just say, especially to you homeschoolers,right off the bat, that it deals with the Trojan War, as told in the Iliad. The city of Troy and the Trojan war is a topic of debate of whether is really existed between scholars. However, despite the heavy influence of Greek mythology, it depicts, in a very exciting story, with a great twelve-year-old heroine, what life in ...more
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Caroline Cooney knew in sixth grade that she wanted to be a writer when "the best teacher I ever had in my life" made writing her main focus. "He used to rip off covers from The New Yorker and pass them around and make us write a short story on whichever cover we got. I started writing then and never stopped!"
When her children were young, Caroline started writing books for young people -- with rem
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