Crown Books for Young Readers: Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

Lovely War

Words like "epic," "sweeping" and "romantic" might have been designed with Julie Berry's Lovely War in mind. In this romance for the ages, parallel story lines depict a mock trial between Greek gods and the love stories of two intertwined pairs of mortals.

In the middle of World War II, Hephaestus, Greek god of fires, lays a trap for his wife, Aphrodite, goddess of love, and her not-so-secret lover, Ares, god of war. Aphrodite negotiates a private trial in which she tells "judge, jury, and executioner" Hephaestus what "real love looks like," as illustrated by imperfect mortals. Aphrodite's narrative then shifts back and forth between the world wars.

In Lovely War, winner of the 2019 Southern California Independent Booksellers Association young adult fiction award, Printz Honoree Berry (The Passion of Dolssa; All the Truth That's in Me) weaves factual historical events and backdrops into an exquisitely crafted, funny and, yes, epic, novel. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor