Twelve year old Percy Jackson isn't a bad kid, he just seems to have real bad luck. Especially when he goes on field trips. When his fifth-grade school went to the Saratoga battlefield, he had an accident with a Revolutionary War cannon and even though he wasn't aiming for the school bus, he got expelled anyway and the year before his school went for a behind the scenes tour of the Marine World shark pool, where an unfortunate brush against the wrong lever caused his class to take an unexpected swim with the sharks and the year before...the point being, something always happened and he always got expelled. But this year he decided it was going to be different, he was going to be extra careful when his sixth grade class went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But it seemed that fate had different ideas, starting with Nancy Bobofit throwing food at his best friend, Grover on the bus and then continued to pick on Percy and Grover until Percy got mad and fought back and of course he got blamed for it. But things really go bad when his pre-Algebra teacher, Mrs. Dodds attacked him and Mr. Brunner, his Latin teacher, threw him a pen that turned into a sword and he vanquished her with it. And when he got back outside with his fellow students, no one remembered Mrs. Dodds. And for the rest of year, his life just got weirder everyday, with freaky weather, nightmares and everyone telling him that there had never been a Mrs. Dodds until he finally snapped, called the English teacher an old sot and was informed that he would not be invited back next year.
This was almost fine with Percy, he would have liked to go home and live with his mother and go to public school, except for his step-father, whom he hated. But he thinks things are going to get better when his mom tells him that they are going on a trip to Montauk, just the two of them. They had been going to the cabin there since he was a child and he loved it there and always felt at peace. But, the nightmares continue, even there and one night his mom wakes him in the middle of the night during a storm and yells at him that they have to go, there is a hurricane coming. And when he opens the door, Grover is there and the three of them run to the car and take off. As they race down the road, his mom is muttering under her breath about hoping they can make it, but he doesn't understand what she is talking about and then it feels like the car is hit by lightning. She yells at him to get out and run and as they take off, a huge man with horns on his head begins to come at them, she tells him to run toward a fence and get over it. As they are running, the monster grabs his mom and she tells him to keep going, that he has to get to safety, just before she disappears in burst of golden light.
He and Grover make it over the fence and stumble down into what turns out to be a summer camp for children who are half gods and half humans. He has trouble believing that all of this is real until he finds out that Poseidon is his father and that he has been chosen for a great quest. Someone has stolen Zeus's master lightning bolt and he is the prime suspect. In order to prove his innocence, he must recover the bolt and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But there are catches to the quest, first, he only has ten days to find the lightning bolt, he has to make peace with the father who abandoned him and solve the riddle of the Oracle. And find time to unravel a treachery more powerful than all the gods on Mount Olympus.
In this fast-paced, hilarious quest, Riordan deftly combines modern slang with Greek mythology to weave an action packed story that will keep you on the edge of your seat all they way through. An outstanding start to a new series.