My Best Friend Athena


My Best Friend Athena

by Dana Hammer

GENRE:   Middle Grade Fantasy

Fanny Fitzpatrick has the coolest best friend ever. Athena is smart, and pretty, and brave, and kind. Fanny loves her friend, but sometimes, she feels a little jealous of how perfect Athena is.

But even “perfect” girls make mistakes, and Athena makes a big one when she accidentally turns the school bully into a cockroach. He was picking on their friend Gemma and Athena lost her temper and her magic powers just slipped out right in front of Fanny.

Now Fanny knows that Athena isn’t an ordinary girl – she’s the reincarnation of a Greek goddess, powers and all – and now she needs Fanny and Gemma’s help to hunt down the bully-turned-cockroach and turn him back into a human boy.

Fanny doesn’t want to spend all her time looking for a cockroach. She’s got the Junior Miss Super Pretty Pageant to prepare for, if she can get over her stage fright. Besides, Athena’s Dad, Zeus, has forbidden the girls from meddling with any more cockroaches or magic, and Zeus is a god you don’t want to mess with.

Fanny has to make a choice. Should she pursue her pageant dreams, or risk Zeus’ wrath to find the cockroach-boy? What’s the right thing to do? And how do you hunt down a cockroach anyway?


Normally, when I arrive at school, I’m tired and cold and grumpy, but not today! Because today I’ve got the World’s Coolest Necklace, and everyone’s gonna notice it and give me compliments. It’s a “statement” necklace, and I got it at an old lady’s estate sale yesterday. I was shopping with my best friend, Athena, when I saw it. It was sitting on a dresser, with a bunch of other jewellery, but this necklace was the only one that caught my eye. It’s a large octopus, with jewel-covered tentacles, and two pearls for eyes. I tried it on, and it looked like the tentacles were reaching around my neck, trying to choke me. I’d never seen anything so cool in my life. It was $20, which was more than I had, but luckily Athena was there, and she bought it for me. Athena always has lots of money, because she’s a rich kid, but that’s NOT why I’m friends with her. 

Anyway, she saw how sad I was that I couldn’t afford the necklace and she just bought it for me, probably because she has excellent taste and could see what a great investment it would be. She said it was “quirky” and “an interesting piece,” which I happen to know is code for “high fashion”. 

My mom said it was “tacky garbage” but she doesn’t know about fashion. She mostly wears gym clothes, even when she’s not at the gym, and she never wears jewelry, except her wedding ring. 

About the Author:

Dana Hammer is a novelist, screenwriter and playwright. She has won over forty awards and honors for her writing, few of which generated income, all of which were deeply appreciated. She is not a cannibal, but she is the author of
A Cannibals Guide to Fasting. Dana is also the author of middle grade fantasy My Best Friend Athena which was inspired by a desire to write something her 9 year old daughter could read.

Q&A With the Author

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 

I typically write very dark, adult subject matter, which is cool, but doesn’t always leave me in the best head space. But writing from the perspective of a bright, funny eleven year old girl was energizing, and left me feeling positive and happy.

Also, my daughter is always asking me to tell her about the stuff I write, and I have to bowdlerize it or just flat out tell her “you can read it when you’re older”. With My Best Friend Athena, I could talk about my writing openly and freely, and I’ve been able to share the final book with her.  That, for me, has been the best thing about writing a middle grade book.

Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about? 

I’ve just finished an outline for a young adult/new adult magical realism novel called Watermelon. When I was five years old, I remember an aunt telling me that if I swallowed a watermelon seed, a watermelon would grow in my belly. This freaking terrified me. My mom was often pregnant, and I knew all about the mechanics of gestating and birthing a baby. I imagined myself walking around with a gigantic pregnant belly, and having to squeeze a watermelon out of my vagina, and I refused to eat watermelon for a year or so. It’s funny now, but at the time, it was deeply terrifying. I decided to write a book asking: what if a watermelon actually grew in your belly?  I originally meant for it to be a screenplay, but I feel like it will be better as a novel, since I can really explore what it’s like to be in my main character’s head. 

Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future? 

Of course! I plan to write many more things, including a sequel for My Best Friend Athena. I’ve already written a rough draft, where Athena’s brother Dionysius (Dion) is having some financial troubles and winds up living back at home with Athena and their dad. But his constant partying and dangerous behavior put the girls in danger. Can Fanny handle this out-of-control god, and stop him from ruining her friends’ lives? Of course she can! She’s Fanny Fitzpatrick!

How long have you been writing? 

I’ve always written.

Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I really hope you enjoy My Best Friend Athena!


Dana Hammer will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This sounds like a fun way to discuss an important point--which is right, follow the 'rules' or do what you know is right.

  2. Sorry I don't tweet but this is a great book as I am in a scooter and I always have little people ask me why so it is a great book to read to the kids that come for tutoring or even my grandkids so they better understand. peggy clayton

  3. Sounds like a terrific read for the younger audience. Nice cover.

  4. School bullies all deserve to be cockroaches.

  5. This looks great! Can’t wait to read

  6. Dana Hammer is fairly new to me. I will have to check out her books. I love being introduced to new authors.


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