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Reviewed by Charity Rowell for Readers' Favorite
Daughters of Atlas by Tyler Art is a unique and contemporary interpretation of the Pleiades within a coming-of-age novel about seven girls attending Geneva Grace College, a religious college where faith and merit meet. The brightest star in the group and runner, Kennedy, has become accustomed to being the top runner in high school; however, she quickly discovers that her skills on the track are inconsequential when compared to her highly competitive teammates' abilities. Off the track, Kennedy faces a crisis of faith as she tries to reconcile her identity with her faith. Kennedy is not alone in her struggles; the other Pleiades are there to help her, and each other, as they face unique challenges and cast off the shackles of conformity during their first year in college.
Even though I was not familiar with the mythology of the Pleiades when I started reading this book, I found myself enjoying it. Art's style of writing is very elegant, authentic, and clear with a compelling cast of characters in a religious setting. I found myself empathizing with the girls as they faced unique challenges to reconcile their pre-college identities while dealing with the pressures of being perceived as conforming to their faith. The dynamic between the sisters shifted in a well-articulated setting as their perceptions of one another changed, adding another layer of authenticity to a novel that seems semi-autobiographical. While some readers might find the ending to Daughters of Atlas a bit of a letdown, I thought it was the perfect way to end this enjoyable, unconventional, and realistic novel that is set in a time and place where convention and conformity are prized over creativity and individuality.