I was thrilled when Lori invited me back to her blog for her Full Moon of Werewolves. Then I instantly went into a panic realizing I needed to find something to talk about.. That’s when I had my “duh” moment. I’m the YA blogger in this lineup (well maybe not THE blogger, but you get my point), why not talk about werewolves in YA?
This sent me on a search for books to discuss. My first thought was Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. After all, I already own the book and I loved the movie (more on that later). However I decided initially to take a different direction and find some books that people may not have heard of yet.
First I picked up Weregirls: Birth of the Pack by Petru Popescu. This book is definitely not your traditional werewolf story. From the back copy I could tell it was about four young girls and their soccer team, the Weregirls. Lily is the leader of this pack of girls; she’s the one who forms their soccer club when the school refuses to make them an official team. The action is a bit slow to start with this book. Initally there’s a lot of drama surrounding the soccer club and the new girl in town, Andra, who seems determined to take the one thing Lily’s worked so hard for away from her. Despite being dead, Lily’s father becomes a central character in this story. In the beginning it’s just his memory and the impact of his absence on Lily and her mother. However after finding his mirror, his “moonglass” in the garage, Lily begins to actually hear her father speaking to her. It’s through him that she learns the truth behind the stories of the weregirls that he used to share with Lily and her friends. These weren’t merely stories. Each of the girls has a weregirl watching over and protecting them. It’s after these revelations are made that everthing picks up and now on top of the drama there’s real danger. Andra is right in the center of all of it, the soccer club was just a means to an end for her. Andra wants far more from Lily than that, and she’s a girl used to getting what she wants.
Next I read Moonlight: A Dark Guardian Novel by Rachel Hawthorne. This is the first book in her Dark Guardians series. And while I enjoyed Weregirls, I LOVED Moonlight. Rachel Hawthorne’s story is a lot more in line with what you expect of a werewolf story. When she was just five years old, Kayla’s parents were killed. While out in the woods they were shot by some drunk hunters who insisted that they’d seen wolves and were just trying to protect the little girl. Kayla doesn’t get it, how stupid and drunk did they have to be to see wolves in place of humans? Now just before her seventeenth birthday Kayla has returned to the same woods. The summer before her adoptive parents took her camping there as part of her therapy and her need to face her past. While there she befriended Lindsey, their guide, or sherpa as they are called. Lindsey convinced Kayla to return and become a sherpa herself. Kayla was glad to return, not only for Lindsey, but also for Luke. She’s both attracted to and afraid of Luke. He’s so intense and her feelings for him are unlike any feelings she’s ever had for another guy. Now Kayla is getting ready to go on her first mission with several other sherpas, Luke among them. They are leading a professor and his group of grad students out into the wild to a predermined campsite and then return for them a couple of weeks later. It sounds like a fairly basic mission until the campfire conversation turns one night from the wolves the grad students are supposedly studying, to werewolves. Everyone laughs it off, but Kayla wonders, do these people really belive in werewolves? When everything comes to light, the real motives of the professor and his students, the secrets of her fellow sherpas, and the truth behind her parents deaths, it’s almost more than Kayla can bear. But bear it she does, and with a strength beyond her years.
Moonlight was just an all-around great read. Whether you’re looking at it as a werewolf story or not. I do love the way the werewolf mythology was handled, and I really loved Kayla and all the supporting characters. Kayla wasn’t thrilled with the truth once she learned it, she tried to rebel in her head, but when it came down to it, she was strong and she knew what she had to do. I also absolutely adored Luke and the romance between him and Kayla. I love it when the feelings between two characters just leap off the page and land right there in your chest. I’m addicted and panting for the next Dark Guardian story.
Now back to Blood and Chocolate, well I’m still reading that one. I tried, but didn’t quite get everything read like I wanted to in time for this post. What I can tell you so far, is that while I am totally in love with the movie version, a great many liberties were taken with the story. Like so far the only similarities are the title, the character names (some of them), and the whole werewolf/ loup garou thing. It’s certainly interesting. I’ll be sure to pop back with a comment or three once I actually finish this one.
So now it’s your turn.. Have you come across any YA werewolf gems that I missed?