Monday, January 10, 2011


I could swear one of the blogs I regularly read reviewed this book and thumbs-upped it a while back, but I can't find the review. Now that I've read it, I was curious to read the review again. Oh well. I bought this book for my almost sweet-sixteen niece for Xmas, but figured I better read it first, just to be sure it was o.k. Apart from one very discreet love scene, it was more than appropriate for a "young adult." In fact, the whole book reads like a very innocent teenage girl's dream—not the Katy Perry variety.

I wasn't exactly looking for or expecting sexy passages—I thought this would be more supernatural in nature, not pure romance, but I do find it interesting that there seems to be an innocence trend in teen-lit or YA. I haven't read the Twilight books—just flipping through the first few pages of the first book in the series in Target didn't encourage me. I've read most of the Percy Jackson series, which are pretty romance-free, prompted by said niece. Harry Potter manages a clinch or two in seven books. It's all very chaste. It's interesting.

The author made a lovely little trailer for her book—she did the collage and the music.

This book isn't about sex, although some folks might be instantly turned off by the potential bestiality implied in a girl-loves-werewolf story. It's a swoony, girly, love story. The heroine Grace stars out as a slightly eccentric girl, a survivor of a wolf attack who is now drawn to the pack that hangs out in the woods beyond her house, almost abnormally. She is smart and independent and I liked her. The boy she loves, Sam, is almost too perfect, too gentlemanly, too sweet. But he's the perfect magical boyfriend, complete with shaggy hair and golden eyes. I guess these guys are this generation's Prince Charmings. My generation had ... I'm not sure who. There really wasn't a young adult book category when I was going to Barnes and Noble. I read my Nancy Drews and then graduated to Grandma's John Jakes and Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins novels for a little sex. In school we passed around thriller novels like Carrie and Jaws.

The middle of the book where girl meets wolf boy, girl loves wolf boy, girl loses wolf boy is pure romance with a dash of suspense. The mysteries laid out are gentle and not too mysterious, but that doesn't seem to be the point. What stays with the reader is the atmosphere—the impending cold weather, the woods behind Grace's house, which seem quite real. There are a few undeveloped or abandoned threads—what about the wolf girl Shelby, who is set up as such a threatening antagonist? Will Sam ever see his mentor Beck again? But there is a sequel (now part two of a trilogy), which I haven't read, but might, if I really want to see how some of this turns out. It depends on how much my niece likes this first book. I'm eager to hear her teenage opinion and see if her perspective of the story and characters differs widely from mine. Not surprisingly, there is a film version in the works.

Mostly I liked the author Maggie Stiefvater's twist on werewolf lore. Her werewolves are tied to the seasons and nature, changing into wolves at the first hint of frost, then back to human form in the summertime. It doesn't always make sense, but it is still intriguing and atmospheric and enough of a necessary obstacle for the young lovers that will intrigue young readers.

Book #4 in reading challenge Cannonball Read 3, sponsored by Pajiba

Enhanced by Zemanta


Post a Comment