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Metamorphosis: Junior Year

3.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  98 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
He’s a young artist obsessed with myths. But can he fix his own fate? Acclaimed author Betsy Franco and her talented son collaborate on a hip YA novel of "epic" proportions.

Life. Love. Death. Identity. Ovid’s got a lot on his mind, and he pours it all — as confessions, observations, narrative poems, and drawings — into the pages of a notebook. Inspired by his namesake, he
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Candlewick Press
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(showing 1-30 of 242)
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Apr 04, 2011 Raquel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-work
Listening to this was a real treat. It's a short audio book, about 2 hours on 2 CDs. It was a delight listening to Betsy Franco's sons David Franco and James Franco (yes THE James Franco) read their mom's book. This book is heavily influenced by Ovid's Metamorphosis which was one of my favorite books to read in college. My favorite part, funny enough, was the informational part at the end that talked about Ovid's life, work, exile, and death. I'm glad this was included because as fun as it is to ...more
This is an interesting take on updating a classic, in this case Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Ovid is artistic and, as his name suggests, his parents once were, too. But now that Ovid's artistic, unconventional older sister has become addicted to meth and run away, his parents are reacting by trying to fix their failures with her. For them, that means pressuring Ovid to be "normal", up to and including abandoning his art. Obviously, a huge source of friction at home. One of his teacher's gave him a copy
Narrated by James Franco (yes, that one!) and David Franco. It's a family affair of sister writer and brother narrators. Inspired after reading Metamorphosis on the suggestion of a teacher, Ovid observes all the transformations he and his classmates are going through, and the stories hidden behind their facades. Ovidâs family has been particularly affected by his sisterâs meth addiction and disappearance, and heâs feeling hemmed in by his parentsâ raised expectations for his own life. James voic ...more
Aug 16, 2010 McKenzie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Metamorphosis: Junior Year is a combination of drawings, poems, journal entries, and narration. Ovid, drawing inspiration from his namesake, relates his high school experiences to Roman mythology. Each person in his life becomes a mythological character. Through his poems we learn people's deepest secrets, ones that no one else knows. But Ovid's got a dark secret of his own.

Oh. My. Gosh. That's really all I have to say. Metamorphosis completely blew me away! At only 114 pages comprised of short
Yvonne Powderly
Jan 22, 2010 Yvonne Powderly rated it really liked it
What a little gem of a book.

Ovid, named after and inspired by the Roman poet, journals all of his thoughts into a notebook. This teenagers voice is very believable and honest; he holds nothing back putting all his feelings on the line.

Ovid's journal tells of his high school experience, he gives the reader a snapshot of his life, as well as the lives of other high school students in a unique way. Ovid also gives each student a separate identity, connecting each one to a Roman mythological charac
Carly (Lis les Livres)

Characters: Sometimes it seemed that there were a bit too many characters for such a small book. I'm not sure I like Ovid, but I guess that's the point. He's too pessimistic for my taste, and yet I felt sorry for him.

Plot: All of the characters are intermingled into one plot, Ovid's story. Personally, the plot was slow. There is definitely mature content in here, and therefore mature language as well so be aware of that. If you've ever read any other Bets
Jan 31, 2011 Elisquared rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Poetry lovers, Roman/Greek Mythology lovers
What drew me to this book wasn't a review from a fellow book blogger, or even word of mouth from a friend. Nope, I bought this based on plain old book summary (the one listed above in fact). I have an obsession with Greek/Roman mythology. I've read The Odyssey 20 times, watched each movie made about the myths (super excited for The Eagle to be coming out!), and tried to read as many YA books based on the subject (some of my favorites: Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block, The Lightning Thief ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by McKenzie Tritt for

Ovid, named after and inspired by the Roman poet, journals all of his thoughts into a notebook, adding his expressive drawings throughout. Ovid's journal tells of his high school experience, as well as his family life, from an interesting perspective.

Through narrative, drawings, and emotional poetry, Ovid gives the reader a snapshot of his life, as well as the lives of other high school students. Each new poem reveals a different student's backgroun
Jun 19, 2012 Shel rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Franco, B. (2009). Metamorphosis Junior Year. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.


114 pages.

Appetizer: During his junior year, Ovid begins reading the myths recorded by his namesake. He begins seeing his own life and friends as characters from Greek myth and he records his observations in illustrations, narratives and poems in his journal. He's also working to express himself in other art forms, like sculpture. And he definitely needs the way to express himself ever since something hap
Feb 03, 2010 Rachel rated it liked it
Ovid is an observant teenager who likes to express his thoughts about life, death and identity through his drawings and poetry. He has a lot to say recently because his meth-addict sister has runway from home and his parents have been on his back ever since trying to make sure he doesn’t go down the same path. Ovid’s friends are also experiencing some tough issues including a break up, the death of a parent and divorce. Ovid documents these events in his journal using narrative stories, poetry a ...more
Jul 20, 2010 Christi rated it liked it
Summary: Ovid pours the details of his tormented life into his journal by drawing pictures and writing poems and prose about himself and his classmates. The problems he’s having with his family and friends overwhelm him. He struggles to find out who he is and what makes him different from his sister who ran away. While struggling to regain the trust of his parents, make amends with his friends, and sorting out the reasons of his sister’s departure, he discovers the artist within and aspires to b ...more
E. Anderson
Mar 12, 2010 E. Anderson rated it really liked it
This book told with prose, poetry, and illustrations is the story of high school student Ovid as he breaks away from the mold his family has created for him. He’s still reeling from the disappearance of his sister, who can’t break from her meth addiction long enough to come home. He has a sketch book where he draws strange things that he doesn’t dare put on his bedroom walls, for fear his parents will ask too many questions. In the sanctity of his art class, though, he is encouraged to explore t ...more
This was not what I wanted it to be ... Not entirely sure what I expected, but this wasn't it. (Could have been the cursing) ... It had some good moments, and felt like there was a lot of potential - but maybe the easy way out was taken? The best part was James Franco's voice reading the poetry passages, not gonna lie.
Jan 11, 2012 Manda rated it liked it
Metamorphosis: Junior Year is a quick read full of free-verse poetry and pen-and-ink drawings from Ovid, a junior high school teen, who has to be perfect to make up for the mistakes made by his meth-head older sister, Thena. If only his parents were as hopeful as they were when they named their kids, Ovid wouldn't have to try so hard to be perfect. He compares his life in high school to Roman mythology, comparing his friends to Icarus, Orpheus, Dalia, Cupid and Callisto among others. An artsy ki ...more
May 11, 2014 fREAK OFoz rated it it was amazing
This novel was delightful in context and language! A must-read for those who enjoy poetry, mythology, and believe in the possibility of there being a fierce, raging beast lurking under the covers of an ordinary Jane.
Jan 28, 2015 Bob rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit
Pretty good. An easy read.
May 17, 2011 rr added it
Betsy Franco acknowledges a debt to Mary Zimmerman's play based on Ovid's Metamorphoses--and you can definitely sense more of Zimmerman's tone than Ovid's in this novel. Zimmerman's tongue-in-cheek, over-simplified Ovid rubs me the wrong way, and so I was a bit put off by Franco's revisioning of Ovid, too, for the same reason. I also wonder if the high-school language would sound contrived to an actual high-schooler. It definitely did to me--but it's been decades since I was that age.
Jan 03, 2015 Laura rated it liked it
This would have been a four-star if it had been a little longer. At 128 pages, you just skim the surface of Ovid's junior year: the pairings, break-ups, crushes, disappointments, friends and his missing runaway meth-addict sister Thena.

I'm the first to blip over poetry when it appears in books, but I did read some of the poems and they were quite good - miss them, and you'll miss the backstory to the action.
Nov 19, 2012 MsMead rated it it was ok
This is a modern take on some of Ovid's themes, making the links nice and obvious through character names and events.
While it is a bit forced, it's clever in its way. If you had written it, you would have achieved high marks for your thinking about the ways these themes are timeless and for revealing the inner workings of the mind of an adolescent.
Apr 15, 2013 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction, i-cried
I liked the drawings that accompanied the book because they enhanced the plot. I also liked how Ovid used poetry to express himself by writing down observations that he witnessed throughout the day. When he revealed his secret, I cried. It was heartbreaking. All this pressure came off and I was proud of him. This was a good book.
A really delightful way of looking into the lives and minds of young adults - I really liked the format of this novel, though some of the revelations were very shocking (definitely making this a read for older students). The writing was very approachable, and I found I was interested in the characters. A good, fun read!
Jan 17, 2010 Lauren rated it liked it
I thought that this book was really interesting, and would have been good if it were longer, but it was only 114 pages long and didn't seem to have much of a plot. I really liked the writing style and the poems written throughout the book but the ending was very unsatisfying.
Dec 16, 2009 T. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Reluctant Boy Readers
Shelves: ya-lit
I agree with many of the reviews that say that this was a wonderful book but was a bit too short. I enjoyed Ovid's insights and loved how "True to life" this book was. I was also excited to see a new plot point that I've never seen in YA literature (what Ovid does).
Meh. I like the premise and parts of this book were actually excellent and interesting on their own. But somehow I'm left feeling kind of indifferent in the end. And I honestly didn't care for the illustrations - but that could just be me.
Jul 06, 2010 Anna rated it it was ok
I can't remember much of the book(not much of a good sign) but what I do recall is the awesome names of the charactors, and the drawings in it were just fantastic.
Sep 24, 2011 Marisa rated it it was ok
I wouldn't read it if you are like me and know nothing about Roman mythology - I know I missed all of the references and it was very confusing for me.
Jan 11, 2010 Ever rated it liked it
I think I would have appreciated this more if the references to Metamorphoses weren't so overt. Still, it's nice to see Publius Ovidius Naso in the YA stacks.
Wendy Lu
Jul 07, 2010 Wendy Lu rated it it was ok
Not much of a plot. More of an "i've finally accepted myself and who cares if everyone else thinks i'm completely screwed up" kinda thing.
Jun 18, 2009 Anna rated it it was ok
I just couldn't find a connection with the main character. That's one of the big things that makes or breaks a book for me.
Oct 03, 2010 Mikayla rated it liked it
Pretty good book. Not exactly a book that you can keep glued to for hours at a time though.
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Betsy Franco has published more than eighty books, including three previous anthologies. She lives in Palo Alto, California.
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