Abandon by Meg Cabot (NY: Point, 2011).
Meg Cabot reimagines the Persephone story in this modern rendering about a girl, Pierce, who dies at age 15 and then returns to life. The first chapter explicitly retells the Persephone myth and Pierce insinuates that she has had a similar experience. Nonetheless, her tale is confusing, largely because the plot is pointlessly convoluted. Instead of starting with the story of her near death and proceeding from there, the story begins with Pierce complaining about being forced to move with her mother to an island off the coast of Florida and how much she hates being asked about her near-death experience (NDE, as she helpfully abbreviates it) and then weaves back and forth between her actual NDE and the immediate aftermath to events further in her past when she visited the island and then to events during the two years leading to the move to the island. The oddest part of the story is not that she doesn't realize that the hunky guy she meets in the underworld is some kind of death deity, but that when she does realize it, she continues to act as though it's perfectly fine to have the hots for a death deity. As if he's just some hot guy. In other words, the trademarks of a Cabot teen girl--mild ditziness with a bunch of lust and a dash of angst--seem rather ridiculously out of place in this story.
If you can get around that roadblock, you'll probably like this story as it involves a girl trying to figure out a complex situation with supernatural overtones while she frets over her love life. Otherwise, you can just adopt a line from Dante that's not helpfully quoted in a chapter heading, but rather implied by the title: Abandon hope all ye who enter here.
Fine for ages 13 & up. Intense situations, sexual situations, alcohol.
More in reading aloud - http://knowledgequest.aasl.org/reading-aloud-kids-important/ Just to follow up, here is a post from KQ, Knowledge Quest, a publication of AASL, the Ameri...
9 hours ago