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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,323 ratings  ·  98 reviews
Many years have passed since the end of the Trojan War, and Penelope is still waiting for her husband, Odysseus, to return home. The city of Ithaka is overrun with uncouth suitors from the surrounding islands who are vying to win Penelope's hand in marriage, thereby gaining control of the land. When a naked, half-drowned man washes up on the beach, everything changes. . . ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published October 6th 2005)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,323 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-egypt
This is a story, full of magic and heartbreak, joy and sadness, and the trial and error of growing up. There's something for everyone here, with mystery, romance, and action-adventure. If you love historical stories or those based on myths, you won't go wrong with ITHAKA.
Mar 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
The second book I've read by Geras and my impression of her style remains the same - her style of writing is good but her lines?! Horrifying! It's like picking up Romeo and Juliet, expecting those beautifully posed words, and Juliet says "Oh my God! Can you, like, believe what she's, like, wearing? It's so, like, not hot!" The colloquialisms make me cringe. Her plot points are beautiful, her characters are usually well drawn (with the exception of the femme fatales, who are fairly one-dimensiona ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013-reads
To be honest this book was a disappointment. I had read her previous book Troy (which I loved!) many years ago, and had been expecting Ithaka to create that same sort of magic. Instead I received dull characters who I did not care about; the portrayal of Penelope was horrendous -- she is known/famed for remaining faithful to her husband over 20 years, so why change it??
Krista Stevens
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
Loved this (until I hated it) perspective of Homer's "The Odyssey" one of my all time favorite books. This book tells the story of what happened at Odysseus' home for the twenty years he was away, first fighting in the Trojan War and then his ten-year long odyssey home. We see Telemachus growing up with two servants who are close to the family and many of the events in The Odyssey are woven into this story to great affect. We see Argos dream doggy dreams, Penelope struggle to cope with the incre ...more
Emily Mcelveen
May 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
This is now one of my favorite books. It has a large focus on what happens in Ithaka while Odysseus is traveling back home. You get to know what all of the suitors are like much more than in anything I have read before. It also focuses on the relationship between Klymene and Ikarios, who are twins that have lived with their grandmother, Nana, who was also Odysseus' nurse. The biggest part of the plot is when Melantho comes into play in the beggining of the story. Telemachus ends up falling in lo ...more
Anne Osterlund
Apr 17, 2009 rated it liked it
The women of the Ithaka are waiting.
The goddess, Athene, waiting in the form of an owl, outside the queen’s window.
The queen, Penelope, waiting, weaving, and unweaving the shroud she has pledged to complete before choosing a new suitor to replace her husband.
And Klymene, the servant girl who has grown up in a palace overrun with the queen’s would-be suitors--all lurking like vultures seeking a kingdom they cannot claim.

Because these women stand in their way.

Adele Geras’s Ithaka is the tale of Th
Sep 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I cherished this book. Everything you could possibly want in one book; adventure, drama, chaos, war, bloodshed, sex, passion gods, goddesses and love. It has the classic spin of an ancient greek myth with gods and goddesses, written in a story format that made it much easier and enjoyable to read.
Apr 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
I always wondered why Odysseus got to cheat on Penelope, while she had to put up with all the suitors, remaining faithful, even though Odysseus wasn't to her. Narrated by Klymene, a girl who is almost like a daughter to Penelope. Very nicely told.
Dec 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, fiction, own, 2007
A wonderful take on "The Odyssey."
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Iliad and the Odyssey are two of my all time favourite tales, so I am particularly drawn to any "spin offs"of the Homer epics. It helps to keep the stories alive, and I really am no ready to let go, just yet.

This story is set in Ithaca and centres around Klymene and Ikarios, twins that have a close bond with Telemachus and Penelope (Odysseus' son and wife). It gives Klymene's perspective on the period that Penelope waits for her husband to return from war, as she holds contemptuous suitors
Haitham Nizar
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Never thought of myself reading something like this before... but this book carries a special place in my heart...

Because it’s what got me back to reading again after a long period of not reading 📖

I enjoyed this book a lot, it’s a mix of thrill, unknown, and a bit of romance hidden between it’s lines... but mostly... it focuses on hope.. hope of a kid that always wanted to meet his father

Who went on a journey of looking for him...
I will not spoil this any further than this... find out for yours
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After reading The Odyssey and another book similar to this one, this book added to everything. It was amazing! I love Adele Geras’ format of the book. It was cool how it changed perspectives and included parts of the Odyssey. It also included Argos’ dreams. I wish there was more!
May 16, 2018 rated it liked it
this was good!!!!!!
i loved seeing what the odyssey wouldve looked like for penelope waiting for odysseus and the whole situation with the suitors.
Bit of a disappointment..... 3
Patricia Letient
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting take on the life of Penelope as she waits for the return of Odysseus as seen through the eyes of a young girl in Penelope's household. Really meant for a young teenage reader.
Timothy Macqueen
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting perspective from the other side of the Odyssey.
Amanda Macias
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting stories. It follows the different characters perspectives in a way that makes since and goes in-depth into them all. I got attached to the characters and enjoyed the Greek mythology in it and the way how it showed how they interacted with the humans. Sheds light on a truth that was hidden. Very goo book.
Horatia Ma
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A gripping tale of love, betrayal and death. Yes, people, we're journeying to Ancient Greece as the battle of Troy rages on. But we're not going to that particular battlefield. No, we're staying back home, where it's safe. But is it really? Different people have different problems, and that's certainly true for Penelope and Telemachus. While Odysseus fights another kingdom, Penelope fights her own battle - against her own kingdom.
Lisa Schensted

in a sentence or two: faithful Penelope is waiting for Odysseus to come home after the trojan war (still waiting 16 years after...yeesh) and in the meantime, the palace is overrun by dirty, nasty, stinky, mean men who are determined to marry Penelope and become ruler of Ithaka.

i was really excited to see this title, especially after having read Troy and really liking it. i am personally intrigued by greek mythology and the stories about the trojan war, and having the ability to read them in youn
May 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ithaka turns our attention to the story of Penelope. The wife that Odysseus left behind when he led the Greek army in the Trojan war. It is thirteen years since Odysseus first set sail for Troy and Penelope is still waiting for her husband to return. She waits and her loyalty unwavering. She would wait forever for her beloved husband to return. Unfortunately, not everyone believes as Penelope does, that Odysseus will return to Ithaka. When the Queen dies, Penelope finds herself ruler of the isla ...more
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2000s
I have read and loved ‘The Odyssey’ and I have read and loved Margaret Atwood's brilliant adaptation of the myth in 'The Penelopiad', both of which are fantastic pieces of literature. Unfortunately, ‘Ithaka’ feels very much like the poor relation: it lacks the poetry and beauty of the original and the wit and courage of Atwood’s version. I appreciate that this is a young adult book, but that does not excuse its clunky prose and lack of conviction in its own story.

When a writer chooses to develop
May 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
To be honest, I really thought I would hate this book. This book would not have been my first choice; the cover looked boring and the summary on the back of the book didn't hook me. Turns out I really enjoyed reading Ithaka. This book was not only very easy to comprehend and follow along to but it was also very interesting and entertaining. When I started to read it I was thinking I would never be able to get through it. Once I got further into the book I was very entertained and hooked. Adele G ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

If you've ever read the epic poem THE ODYSSEY by Homer, you know that the author focuses on the thrilling journey of Odysseus. After the Trojan War has ended, Odysseus must battle witches, supernatural monsters, and even gods to gain back his lands and his faithful wife from the thieves that have kidnapped her. In the story of ITHAKA, the focus isn't on Odysseus, but on those that were left behind--first when he went off to war, and then when he fails to return
Aug 30, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was good, except I didn't like parts of it for the same reasons that I didn't like Troy (the other book by this author) but I liked this book for the same reasons I liked Troy. I'm a total nerd about Greek mythology so that whole aspect was pretty interesting, and while the plot was obvious and predictable(Odysseus leaves his wife to fight in the Trojan War, doesn't come back for thirteen years while Penelope [said wife:] has to remain faithful to him otherwise he'll die... and of cour ...more
Jun 20, 2014 rated it liked it
The mystery surrounding the epic wait and loyalty of Ithaca's famed Queen Penelope is ripe with story possibility, so I am not surprised that Adele Geras chose to explore it. The myth of the Odyssey contains very little about what is happening back in Ithaca, and I like thinking about what could be going through the mind of a woman left for twenty years to rule a kingdom and raise a child all with very little contact (and then none at all) with her husband. Is it right to expect her to be dutifu ...more
Danielle Morrone
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
When you think of a soldier coming home, you only think of what happens the moment he arrives, with his family and him hugging and crying and all that sappy stuff. Ithaka, by Adele Geras, makes you see the other part. Not only what the family goes through as they wait for the soldier to return- or not, but what happens afterward as well, after the hugs have finished. The book not only shows you how it effects the family, but how the friends and even just aquantances and coworkers are effected, i ...more

The Odyssey is a tale of epic proportion and the characters within the tale reflect that. So I expect retellings to keep that epic quality that the original holds to some extent. This retelling, however, lacked any portion of that quality.

Most of the characters were rather flat, especially those who can be compared to their original counterparts like Odysseus and Penelope. Others who were added to the story were entirely forgettable, despite having a POV.

I also didn't quite understand why it
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Ithaka" was a moving read, filled with a whirlwind of emotions from page one. You read the story of the island of Ithaka, post-Odysseus leaving for the war, in a focused point of view on Klymene. Klymene is the twin sister of Ikarios, and both are close friends of Telemachus, the son of Odysseus. From the suicide of Antikleia, to the return of Odysseus, back-to-back events have you itching to read the next chapter; the next page. How is Penelope and Telemachus able to stay so faithful of Odysse ...more
Regina Tam
Oct 04, 2011 rated it liked it
ok i remember reading this book in high school about 3-4 years ago? i was really into greek mythology and still am so i picked this one up from the library. while it wasn't extraordinary i did enjoy it somewhat. Telemachus and Melantho got on my nerves but other than that it was pretty good. I know some people complained it didn't entirely follow the original story but some elements were changed for the better IMO.i think there should have been more development for Klymene since shes so annoying ...more
J. Else
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book much more than "Troy" by Geras. I like the way this book is constructed. As the island of Ithaka waits for Odysseus to return, snippets of Odysseus' journey are woven in as excellent transitions in time. I like how the characters remember the gods visiting them or telling them something. In "Troy," the visits were almost always forgotten which made them seem pointless. The storyline of this book built up to a satisfying and bittersweet ending. The characters' stories develop ...more
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boring... 5 23 Sep 08, 2012 05:59PM  

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Adèle Geras FRSL (born 15 March 1944) is an English writer for young children, teens and adults. Her husband was the Marxist academic Norman Geras and their daughter Sophie Hannah is also a novelist and poet.

Geras was born in Jerusalem, British Mandatory Palestine. Her father was in the Colonial Service and she had a varied childhood, living in countries such as Nigeria, Cyprus, Tanzania, Gambia a

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