Chapters 1–4

Percy Jackson's normal life is turned upside down when gods from Greek mythology accuse him of stealing a supernatural weapon. Percy must find the real thief—and figure out his connection to the gods.

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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. envy
    feel desirous of another's advantages
    I envy you for being able to believe that none of this ever happened.
  2. determined
    strongly motivated to succeed
    This trip, I was determined to be good.
  3. wispy
    thin and weak
    He must’ve been held back several grades, because he was the only sixth grader with acne and the start of a wispy beard on his chin.
  4. vital
    urgently needed; absolutely necessary
    “What you learn from me,” he said, “is vitally important. I expect you to treat it as such. I will accept only the best from you, Percy Jackson.”
  5. dyslexia
    impaired ability to learn to read
    But Mr. Brunner expected me to be as good as everybody else, despite the fact that I have dyslexia and attention deficit disorder and I had never made above a C- in my life.
  6. triumphant
    joyful and proud especially because of success
    There was a triumphant fire in her eyes, as if I'd done something she'd been waiting for all semester.
  7. pulverize
    make into a powder by breaking up or cause to become dust
    It’s weird being alone with a teacher, especially Mrs. Dodds. Something about the way she looked at the frieze, as if she wanted to pulverize it.
  8. shriveled
    lean and wrinkled by shrinkage as from age or illness
    She was a shriveled hag with bat wings and claws and a mouth full of yellow fangs, and she was about to slice me to ribbons.
  9. vaporize
    turn into gas
    She exploded into yellow powder, vaporized on the spot, leaving nothing but the smell of sulfur and a dying screech and a chill of evil in the air, as if those two glowing red eyes were still watching me.
  10. contaminate
    make impure
    My lunch must’ve been contaminated with magic mushrooms or something.
  11. distracted
    having the attention diverted especially because of anxiety
    He looked up, a little distracted. “Ah, that would be my pen. Please bring your own writing utensil in the future, Mr. Jackson.”
  12. occasional
    occurring from time to time
    I was used to the occasional weird experience, but usually they were over quickly.
  13. convinced
    persuaded of; very sure
    The students acted as if they were completely and totally convinced that Mrs. Kerr—a perky blond woman whom I'd never seen in my life until she got on our bus at the end of the field trip—had been our pre-algebra teacher since Christmas.
  14. hesitate
    pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness
    When I mentioned the name Dodds to him, he would hesitate, then claim she didn’t exist.
  15. squall
    sudden violent winds, often accompanied by precipitation
    One of the current events we studied in social studies class was the unusual number of small planes that had gone down in sudden squalls in the Atlantic that year.
  16. irritable
    easily annoyed
    I started feeling cranky and irritable most of the time.
  17. sot
    a chronic drinker
    Finally, when our English teacher, Mr. Nicoll, asked me for the millionth time why I was too lazy to study for spelling tests, I snapped. I called him an old sot. I wasn’t even sure what it meant, but it sounded good.
  18. obnoxious
    causing disapproval or protest
    I wanted to be with my mom in our little apartment on the Upper East Side, even if I had to go to public school and put up with my obnoxious stepfather and his stupid poker parties.
  19. ignorance
    the lack of knowledge or education
    Let him enjoy his ignorance while he still can.
  20. solstice
    when the sun is at its greatest distance from the equator
    “My nerves haven’t been right since the winter solstice.”
  21. mournful
    expressing sorrow
    He looked at me mournfully, like he was already picking the kind of flowers I’d like best on my coffin.
  22. nauseous
    feeling about to vomit
    He just kept on collecting paychecks, spending the money on cigars that made me nauseous, and on beer, of course.
  23. smother
    envelop completely
    I told her she was smothering me, and to lay off and all that, but secretly, I was really, really glad to see her.
    In this sentence, smother has the sense of "overwhelm with too much love, care, or concern."
  24. sarcasm
    witty language used to convey insults or scorn
    His tiny brain was probably trying to detect sarcasm in my statement.
  25. anxiety
    a vague unpleasant emotion in anticipation of a misfortune
    For a moment, I thought I saw anxiety in her eyes—the same fear I’d seen in Grover during the bus ride—as if my mom too felt an odd chill in the air.
  26. hallucination
    illusory perception
    I knew I should tell my mom about the old ladies at the fruit stand, and Mrs. Dodds at the art museum, about my weird hallucination that I had sliced my math teacher into dust with a sword.
  27. cloven
    (used of hooves) split, divided
    Because where his feet should be, there were no feet. There were cloven hooves.
  28. hastily
    in a hurried manner
    “Keeping tabs on you. Making sure you were okay. But I wasn’t faking being your friend,” he added hastily.
  29. swerve
    turn sharply; change direction abruptly
    We swerved onto a narrower road, racing past darkened farmhouses and wooded hills and PICK YOUR OWN STRAWBERRIES signs on white picket fences.
  30. falter
    speak haltingly
    “Percy,” my mother said, “we have to...” Her voice faltered.
  31. lumber
    move heavily or clumsily
    In a flash of lightning, through the mud-spattered rear windshield, I saw a figure lumbering toward us on the shoulder of the road. The sight of it made my skin crawl.
  32. dissolve
    become or cause to become soft or liquid
    Then, with an angry roar, the monster closed his fists around my mother’s neck, and she dissolved before my eyes, melting into light, a shimmering golden form, as if she were a holographic projection.
  33. disintegrate
    break into parts or components or lose cohesion or unity
    He flailed, clawing at his chest, then began to disintegrate—not like my mother, in a flash of golden light, but like crumbling sand, blown away in chunks by the wind, the same way Mrs. Dodds had burst apart.
Created on January 26, 2014 (updated July 9, 2019)

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