Synopsis: Vivian is surprised when she opens the school literary magazine. Beside her painting of wolves is a poem about changing into a wolf. The strange part is, it’s written by a hipster boy and she happens to be a werewolf.
The werewolves pretty much just moved to town. A few killings in the town before led to the death of Vivian’s father, the pack leader. They’ve got a few wild kids in their pack (teenagers known as The Five), but they’re in the suburbs now so they have to chill out. Vivian’s not happy with the way things are at the moment. Her widowed mother Esme is flirting with who may be the future pack leader Gabriel, who is 24, and competing with another “cougar” Astrid. Astrid is a crazy piece of work, btw.
Vivian decides to introduce herself to Aidan, the poet. They hit it off and he asks her out. They have a pretty good romance for a while. He’s learning about the occult and fantastic beasts and such. He introduces her to some friends, and other than his ex Kelly, Vivian gets along with them well. The pack is not happy with her choice in “meat-man” and other humans.
It’s time to choose a new leader. The pack is fragmented, some wolves are starting to roam town, and order needs to be restored. They have to do it traditionally: fight to the death, sorta. They do first blood & eliminate until the last two (I think). Astrid insists on fighting, even though traditionally it’s a male battle. Astrid fights dirty, and they kick her out of that fight. But there’s also a fight to be the leader’s mate. Gabriel is the new leader of the pack, and the second he wins Astrid jumps on Esme and goes for the jugular. Vivian, worried for her mother and pissed that no one else is helping, jumps into the fight and beats Astrid. Too bad she forgot that it was a battle for Gabriel… she runs away.Things are heating up between Vivian and Adrian, and she doesn’t want to screw that up (even though she obviously did if Gabe thinks she wants him.)
Vivian decides she can’t make up any more excuses for not seeing Adrian during the full moon. (She can change anytime, but she’s compelled to change at full moon. ) She kind of hints around at the werewolf thing. He thinks it’s a joke. One night, he went all out with candles all over his room ready for a special encounter. He didn’t expect the encounter to be with Vivian in wolf form. (Changed in front of him. Little to no warning.) He freaks out, and kicks her out. She wakes up the next morning bloody, not sure where she had been. A body has been found.
Her human friends shut her out, and Bingo (one of them) tells her that Aidan said she went crazy jealous on him and broke a window (which, the window happened, but the other stuff didn’t). At least he’s not telling the truth. Aidan gets back with Kelly and Vivian gets drunk (with the help of Rafe, one of the Five) and breaks into Kelly’s room and trashes it. She wakes up, again, with no recollection of the night before, pink in her nails, and oh, a bloodied hand in her bedroom. She gets rid of the hand. The pack is having a meeting about the killings, where they discuss strategies to catch the killer. They’re paired up with people who wouldn’t cover for each other. Vivian decides to kill herself so that she doesn’t strike again, and writes a suicide note. Gabriel, Willem (her partner), and Ulf, a young member of the pack, find her and convince her she’s not the killer. Ulf has seen his mother Astrid and Rafe kill one of Aidan’s friends right after he delivered a note to Vivian, who promptly tossed it back at him. The note had a meeting time & place on it, and Rafe and Astrid plan on being there to greet Aidan.
Vivian runs to the meeting place, and Aidan has a couple silver bullets and is ready to shoot. Vivian says she’s not the killer, and she hopes he has more than one bullet. Astrid and Rafe come to taunt him and they’re going to kill him. They admit to setting Vivian up with the blank memory and stuff, and are willing to kill her too. Vivian tells Aidan to shoot Rafe and she’ll take care of Astrid. Gabriel came in time to hear the confession and has let Astrid know that the body she disposed of on Vivian’s porch has been taken away. He kills Astrid. Aidan thinks he’s protecting himself by shooting the last bullet, but it hits Vivian when she tries to protect him. Before the pack lets him leave, they say he’ll regret it if the news slips that there are werewolves, and they’ll be after him if Vivian dies. Vivian is half-changed when she’s shot, and she’s stuck. They keep telling her to choose one, but she simply can’t. Gabriel comes and tells her his experience with a human love interest, and he tells her that if you love someone you want to love them in your true form. They don’t have a true form, really, but both forms would be true, and to humans, turning into a wolf is terrifying, not lovely. So turns out Gabe’s the man for Viv after all, she can change back and forth again, yay.
I normally can read a book in one sitting, or if not one sitting, two days if it’s not very long. I got it from the library’s electronic services (which I love, BTW) and couldn’t get into it. Vivian didn’t really engage me. Aidan seems fake to me. The relationship was superficial, and I get how his being interested in occult stuff would have made her think he was open-minded, but seriously, they brush by that stuff to get to making out.
I’ll give the book points for making werewolves violent; they have rules and all, but sometimes they just can’t help themselves. Twilight‘s werewolves are only interested in killing vampires, and Harry Potter‘s Professor RJ Lupin simply has a furry problem. (Not saying I want Fenrir Greyback instead of Lupin; Lupin is seriously my favorite Marauder.) You’re just going to have a bunch of teenage girls looking for a werewolf to protect them from evil sparkly vampires or gentle geniuses that’ll aid in warding off dementors. No, “real werewolves” are scary, no romance about it. The book does have a nice theme about being yourself and choosing who you will become, but… it’s a stretch that kind of comes together at the end.
Since I mentioned Twilight, what’s with the name Esme? Weird how in one, it’s a vampire, and the other is a werewolf; mortal enemies and all that.
The Class Part
Grades: High school. Some sexuality that is inappropriate for younger audiences, some violence. It was categorized as young adult in the library.
Grade: B-/C. I’m pretty lukewarm on this book. I didn’t hate it, didn’t particularly like it. May not be my style.