The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This book has been on my radar for years, but I didn’t get around to reading it until my 8th grader selected it as her summer reading book. Instead of being disappointed in myself at having waited for so long to read this masterpiece, I’m going to focus on the positive and tell you that it was absolutely worth waiting for.

The Song of Achilles is a glorious retelling of the Greek legend, but instead of the hero himself sharing his exploits, the narrative unfolds from the perspective of Patroclus, Achilles’ childhood friend who later becomes his lover. They first meet as boys, and Achilles takes Patroclus under his wing, setting him apart from the other boys as his boon companion. Patroclus accompanies Achilles to Mount Pelion, and lessons with Chiron the centaur, which is where their friendship begins to shift into a physical relationship. Eventually, the call to war sounds and Patroclus accompanies Achilles to Troy, where the Greeks lay siege to the city-state in their attempt to recapture Helen, who absconded with the Trojan Prince Paris.

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The Vicar and the Rake by Annabelle Greene

Gabriel and Edward were childhood friends, but then Edward went to London as the heir to the Caddonfell dukedom, and Gabriel (who has some sort of minor title) became a vicar.

They have not seen each other for over a decade, so it comes as a surprise when Edward returns to the ducal manor to find Gabriel passed out in the flowerbeds. Edward—scandal personified—is on the run from the vengeful Duke of Sussex, and Gabriel—who has always avoided scandal—quickly becomes entwined with Edward, both metaphorically and physically.

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Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

April is a talented geologist, but her true passion is writing fanfiction for Gods of the Gates, a series of books based on the Aeneid, which turned into a popular fantasy series on television. April’s favorite ship is Lavinia/Aeneas.

Little does she know that her best online fanfic buddy is secretly Marcus, one of the stars of the show.

Meanwhile, when Marcus sees April’s Lavinia cosplay photo on Twitter, he feels compelled to ask her out. She tells him about her fanfic, but he can’t bring himself to confess *his* fanfic identity.

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