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Cleopatra's Moon

Cleopatra's Moon

4.7 50
by Vicky Alvear Shecter

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Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra & Mark Antony--the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, & when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she's ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavianus's household in Rome, she finds herself torn between


Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra & Mark Antony--the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, & when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she's ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavianus's household in Rome, she finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies--until she reaches out to claim her own.

This stunning novel brings to life the personalities & passions of one of the greatest dramas in history, & offers a wonderful new heroine in Selene.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This fascinating historical novel explores the tumultuous history of Cleopatra VIII Selene, the only daughter of Cleopatra VII and Marcus Antonius. "How was it that I went from a Princess of Egypt—the daughter of the most powerful queen in the world—to a prisoner of Rome, and now, to the bride of a petty ruler in the scrubs of Africa?" a teenage Cleopatra Selene wonders, before the narrative rewinds a decade to her upbringing in Alexandria and the dissolution of the Egyptian empire. The early sections highlight the high stakes, political pressure, and dangers facing Cleopatra VII's reign and the rich complexities of the Egyptian religion. Shecter (Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen) strongly sketches court life and highlights the differences between Cleopatra Selene's youth in Alexandria with the more restrictive court of Rome where Selene and her brothers move after her parents' deaths. In Rome, Cleopatra Selene and her brothers dodge palace dangers, including an attempt on their lives, with grace. Cleopatra Selene proves a stalwart heroine, and the novel's atmospheric setting and romantic intrigue are highly memorable. Ages 13–up. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

“Shecter, author of nonfiction books on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra VII, moves her scholarly interest in ancient Egypt seamlessly into the fictional realm with this dramatic account of the life of Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Cleopatra VII and Marc Antony. . . . Shecter brings ancient Egypt and Rome to life with vivid period details and a fascinating take on a neglected historical figure.” – Booklist

“[A]n intelligently written and stately meditation on fate, free will, and political power, a worthy challenge for readers up to it.” --Horn Book

“In Cleopatra's Moon, Vicky Alvear Shecter takes a little bit of historical white space and a feisty, feminist heroine and weaves a beautiful novel of love and country…. Cleopatra's Moon is rich in authentic details, including faith. It never slows…. Her story of love and power satisfies.” -- Jewish Book World, starred review

“Well written and painstakingly researched, this book will be a wonderful addition to advanced history reading lists and for students who like a fascinating story….” -- Voice of Youth Advocates

VOYA - Lynn Evarts
Goddess Isis is not being kind to Cleopatra VIII Selene ("Little Moon"), the only daughter of Cleopatra VII and Marcus Anthony. Little Moon is desperately trying to discover her place within her mother's Egyptian kingdom, but external forces keep interfering. Stress in her kingdom increases dramatically when her mother and Tata (Anthony) travel to Rome to fight for their land. Their deaths, along with the death of her twin brother, plunge Little Moon into a whole new world. Suddenly, she is no longer the pampered daughter of the queen of Egypt, but a forced exile in Rome. As time progresses, she learns to rely on the lessons her mother taught her and her own strong personality. Eventually, she meets someone who is her match, and together they rule parts of Algeria and Morocco in peace and prosperity. Historical fiction can be complex to write and to read, and Shecter does not shy away from these complexities, detailing not Cleopatra herself but her daughter. Kings, queens, princesses, gods and goddesses—Roman and Egyptian—make up this sweeping history. There is a character list at the beginning of the book that is vital to keeping track of all of the players, and "Facts within the Fiction" at the end of the book details the actual history of the times. Well written and painstakingly researched, this book will be a wonderful addition to advanced history reading lists and for students who like a fascinating story and a bit of a reading challenge. Reviewer: Lynn Evarts
Children's Literature - Amanda MacGregor
Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Cleaopatra VII and Marcus Antonius, is used to a life of splendor in Egypt. All of that starts to fall apart when her father names Caesarion (son of Cleaopatra VII and Julius Caesar) king of Egypt. Octavianus, Julius Caesar's nephew, was to be the one true heir and inherit the position of king. He declares war on Egypt, focusing on destroying Cleopatra's family. After both of their parents die, Cleopatra Selene and her brothers are taken to Rome, where they suffer further heartbreak yet hold out hope for returning to Egypt. Cleopatra Selene is determined to be like her mother, to make choices that will allow her to reclaim her destiny and Egypt, yet must face the truth that maybe her mother's choices are not the only ones available to her. Readers who appreciate a strong female protagonist will especially enjoy this dense historical novel. The large cast of characters is sometimes difficult to keep straight, particularly in the cases where multiple characters share similar names, but readers who persevere and find their footing will be treated to a wonderfully written story of intrigue, romance, and adventure. An appended section about the historical facts and liberties taken flesh out Cleopatra Selene's life and eventual rule. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Based on the lives of Cleopatra's children, this book is narrated by the queen's only daughter, Cleopatra Selene, whose father was Marcus Antonius and whose name means moon. Starting in Alexandria just as Octavianus is attacking the kingdom, Cleopatra Selene goes from a happy childhood at age seven to seeing her father kill himself, losing her mother, and being shipped off to Rome to live in the house of her enemy. Having been crowned queen along with her twin Alexandros, as the next king before being whisked out of Egypt, Cleopatra holds on to the hope that somehow the followers of Isis, her mother's patron goddess, will help them escape back to Egypt, all the while convinced that Octavianus's wife is trying to poison her family. She turns away from her own heart and focuses on power, allowing herself to be seduced by Marcellus, the next in line to rule Rome. At 16, Cleopatra Selene is married off by Octavianus to the King of Mauretania, which leads to an unexpected ending. An afterword describes the history surrounding the plot. This novel has romance, drama, heartbreak, and adventure, all rooted in an accurate and descriptive historical setting. Shecter writes about the world of ancient Egypt and Rome with wonderful detail, making it come alive and bringing in the Jewish culture that existed in both Rome and Alexandria. Her characters are skillfully fictionalized, and readers will connect with the hardship suffered by the children, particularly the deaths of Cleopatra Selene's brothers. A fantastic read with some valuable history.—Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MA

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Vicky Alvear Shecter is the author of CLEOPATRA'S MOON, the winner of the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and three nonfiction books for young readers, most recently ANUBIS SPEAKS! A GUIDE TO THE AFTERLIFE BY THE EGYPTIAN GOD OF THE DEAD. A docent in the Ancient History department of the Carlos Museum of Art, she lives near Atlanta, Georgia. Please visit her website at www.vickyalvearshecter.com or follow her on Twitter at @valvearshecter.

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Cleopatra's Moon 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
seleneAN More than 1 year ago
An amazing piece of historical fiction and definitely a must read for any teen! Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter is a novel that follows the life of Cleopatra VII's daughter Cleopatra Selene after the death of her parents and the siege of her beloved kingdom Egypt. Now orphans, Cleopatra and her brothers are sent to Rome where they are to live under the custody of Octavian and his household. As a fourteen year old, this book is by far one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read and would recommend it to anyone. Everything in the book is described so vividly, that you almost feel that you are with Cleopatra everywhere in the story. Shecter has managed to grasp every last detail of Cleopatra's life and has obviously done her research, when it comes to the history of this time period. The story itself is a very sad and heartbreaking tale, but there is no doubt that beauty shines through each and every word in the book. The plot is filled with tragedy and despair, but at the same time there are glimpses of other story elements. Besides the losses, she feels for the people she cares about, young Cleopatra Selene finds herself caught in a love triangle between two different men; an Octavian's heir, Marcellus and Juba, an African prince afraid to face his past. Though Cleopatra can only choose one, both men offer her something she deeply wants; love and power. Everything about this book is amazing to me. I was skeptical at first about taking this book from the library that I hadn't heard about, but as soon as I started reading I was instantly hooked. I especially love the front cover and admire it for its beauty. I love all the characters in this book, especially Cleopatra Selene because she changes from a spoiled little brat to a clever and cunning adult. Everything is so accurate and it is easy to feel as if you are in Rome and Egypt as well. This book gives you so much insight on history that you can just indulge in it. There is so much emotion that you can feel while reading this, especially the chills running down your spine when you truly grasp how inhumane Octavian really was. There's everything from romance, adventure, tragedy, heart break, loss, love, treachery, and even sacrifice. I promise you, this is definitely a book that anyone will enjoy and love.
AmaliaT More than 1 year ago
Vicky Alvear Shecter paints an incredible picture of life in the time of Cleopatra both in Egypt and Rome. Her worldbuilding is extensive and detailed without ever slowing down the narrative of the story. Historical fiction lovers of all ages should have no complaints, and while I cannot promise that they will love the heartbreaking journey of Cleopatra Selene's life from childhood to adulthood (there were moments when I had to stop reading because I was so emotionally invested in the story that the tragedy was too much to bear without a breather) I can promise that the style and quality of the storytelling is exceptional!
Katie017 More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful piece of historical fiction, and it is very intriguing, especially for someone like me who is interested in this specific time period. I actually met the author of this book at a Latin Convention I attended, and from what I saw, she does some very extensive research before she writes her books; the result is that the settings and time periods she portrays are very historically accurate. This book uses wonderful imagery and descriptive language, making you feel as if you are really on the Nile or in the grungy streets of Rome, right along with Cleopatra Selene. The way the book is written really makes you sympathize with the characters and their struggles, especially Cleopatra Selene and her attempts to find her rightful place in the world. It is definitely worth your time if you are interested in ancient Egyptian and Roman culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this a VERY interesting book. If you like historical facts or mythology i would deffently reccomend it to you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
U have to read this u willl love it!! Best book ever!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved reading this! I'm actually still mad that I finished it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im on chapter 23. Andbitsbso good! Its also realy sad. So if if u dont like sad books. Than i wouldnt recromend readin it. Other wise its the best book ever! Its goodbfor kids 12 and older. I cant wait tobfinish it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even if you are not interested in history this is still an amazing book! I loved it and couldnt put it down and it was fun talking about the story with my friend. The endings really good too!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing historical fiction!
lilacqueen75 More than 1 year ago
Ancient Egypt is fascinating and I was hoping for more of the day to day events in the typical life of Cleopatra, Mark Antony, and their family. Yes, there was a little of that, but this story seemed to focus a lot of the political world at that time and the way the events played out with Rome. Life at this time was interesting, but there was a lot of evil that abounded. Prisoners, torture, death, adultery, incest, homosexual relationships, concubines, etc. This is all alluded to and skimmed over, with a few details given on the violent happenings, but I wouldn't say it's graphic. Selene is a young teen when her parents die and she's taken to Rome with her two brothers. Her heritage is so ingrained in her that she's willing to forsake love and do whatever it takes to regain Egypt. It's hard to know who to trust and what to do, especially with so little experience in her young life, but Selene is strong, resourceful, and resilient. I did enjoy the story overall. At times, it moves along at a slower pace and is heavy on detail, but it is an interesting part of history. Content: some romance (non-graphic mention of two sensual incidents, kissing, non-graphic nudity); some language; violence (some moderately graphic details of death, torture, etc); talk of Egyptian religion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
must read and amazing i want to read another story like this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am in Latin at my high school, so we learned the stories about Caesar and Marc Antony. But even though i know the true history that this story is based on, I love it!!!!! It is a fantastic twist to a tragic history! It shows the strength it takes to get past such hard times. Much of the story is based on the true history of Cleopatra Selene and what happened to her family! But the way the author created the in between part of her life is amazing! No complaints what so ever!!!!!!!
SThornton More than 1 year ago
The only daughter of Cleopatra VII of Egypt, Cleopatra Selene endures the deaths of her father and her mother before being dragged back to Rome by Octavianus to walk in his triumph. But her trials continue as she must survive traps set for her in Rome, and learn to become a queen in her own right. I love anything Egyptian (except Cleopatra VII, who just had to go and lose Egypt to the Romans), and Vicky Alvear Shecter delivers a wonderful novel with a strong heroine in Cleopatra Selene. While I knew the history regarding Selene's life, Shecter's version has many delightful twists and turns. The writing was atmospheric so I felt like I was actually trudging through the filth of the Subura in Rome, and the characters were all complicated and terribly human. And of course, being a sucker for romance, I adored the bit of a love triangle. This is a great book for lovers of historical fiction, especially those who enjoy the ancient world and scrappy heroines!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mgolden More than 1 year ago
I’m not sure if there has ever been a book that left me as emotional and/or completely fascinated by history as Cleopatra’s Moon. I have to admit I knew nothing about Cleopatra other than her skimpy Halloween costume. After reading this story about her daughter I find myself wanting to learn even more about their lives and the society they lived in.  This book has a good mix of reality with fantasy. I really appreciated the list facts at the end of the book where the author let us know her story is based on the truth and certain parts she took creative liberties. Throughout the story the author slipped in ancient terminology with a brief description. If there were more books like this I may have done better in history! (Okay, so there may be, but I have yet to discover them at least). The characters are wonderful and even though I knew certain ones would bite the dust, I still found myself emotional over their deaths as seen through the MC’s eyes.  The writing is brilliant. I found myself immersed in the story and I could get a real sense of what life back then would have been like. I’m certainly a fan of this author now and will read anything else she publishes! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amazingly written story! This is the second story in a week i have read about Cleopatra Selene. I love the connection she shares with her and her brothers. Juba is an amazing character as well! The characters seemed as historically accurate as possible. This is thetype of story that brought out my love for reading as a child! If you love the ancient world this is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Slow at some points but overall is a great book. The romance is there but doesn't overpower the story line. It seems very real and throws things for a loop to keep it interesting. I loved how the history aspect was tied into the story. I got a very enjoyable history lesson out of this. A must read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i finished this book i just sat and was like "wow, this was the best book i ever read." Thr drama and the beauty shocked me and never had i felt so connected to book. The characters are developed with amazing detail. Must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Broke my heart and built it up again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago