I was provided with an advanced reader copy of Weregirl by NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you to Chooseco for the opportunity.
From the publisher:
Weregirl by C.D. Bell is a contemporary YA thriller filled with humor, romance, adventure, and a real-world relevant storyline. This fall’s must-read, set for release on November 1, 2016, Weregirl is a breathtakingly fun, not-to-be-missed addition to one of today’s most exciting literary genres – crafted by a truly feminist team of authors who passionately believe that teen girls deserve a better teen girl protagonist.
Created by a talented group of six female writers and inspired by the working tradition of television team writing, C. D. Bell is a Chooseco author pseudonym developed with teen author Cathleen Davitt Bell, who has written I Remember You [Knopf 2015], among other novels for young adults.
First of all, I was truly impressed with this book. It’s uncommon for a young adult novel with a female protagonist to depict said female protagonist in such an energetic, warm and inspiring way. It’s not that Nessa Kurland is incredibly different and unique when compared to other girls – it’s that she’s not compared to other girls, period. She’s simply herself, with a completely mundane and relatable life.
Nessa is one of those characters you just click with. She’s incredibly focused, independent, hard-working, ambitious, brave (but not overly so), a caring daughter and sister, a goofy and reliable friend, yet she is not without her faults either. She’s impulsive and doesn’t always think rationally, especially when it comes to her own safety (although I believe this is an athlete thing), and is a bit on the slow side at times. You usually do figure things out before she does. Still, she’s so likeable I have to give her a break.
She always hangs out with her best friend Bree, who could not be more different from her – but their relationship somehow just works so well and it’s one of the best parts of the book. She’s had a crush on a senior since ninth grade and yes, she gets flushed and awkward around him from time to time. Which is totally normal! Yet not once does her existence seem to revolve around this single fact.
She has actual hobbies and a life beyond boys and high school gossip. She’s too busy with other things, such as making time to help out her mom at the vet’s clinic on weekends, taking care of her autistic younger brother, getting good grades and achieving a college scholarship to a a good school, which she otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. And that is her main drive throughout the book. That is, until something else far more important and dangerous forces her to shift her priorities.
Nessa very literally steps into unsafe territory, where a single act of kindness changes her whole life. She finds herself thrown into a secret scheme taking place right under the noses of Tether’s citizens, which compromises their very futures. With her new form, Nessa not only has the ability but also the responsibility to find out what exactly is happening and what she can do to stop it. But not without some help from a new friend.
Besides having a very balanced and realistic main character, this book features a great deal of friendship, girl cooperation, functional family dynamics, and a great variety of multi-dimensional characters. There are no real clichéd stereotypes, and those are actually made fun of throughout the story. We quickly find our assumptions thrown under the bus as the characters reveal themselves and surprise us again and again.
There is also not one ounce of girls pitting against each other or degrading one other, even when the constant competition could call for it. You’re just expecting it to happen, every time, and it doesn’t. You’re also expecting Nessa’s love life to seize her entire attention at some point, and it doesn’t. It’s just so refreshing. It’s refreshing to see a book aimed at women, written by women and portraying women in such a positive, dedicated and real light.
You can see there was great care involved in elaborating a coherent plot. It’s not one that is terribly complicated, but I think it’s its simplicity that really makes it work. It’s intricate enough that it grabs your attention and doesn’t let go easily, but doesn’t frustrate you to the point of wanting to throw the book across the room. You really start doubting your own suspicions and question what the author is really going for. You are constantly kept on the edge of your seat, wondering what is happening or what will be revealed next. And I think all of those questions are answered in a gradual, structurally sound fashion. Not thrown at your face in a hurried, fickle way just to get it over with.
The subject of autism was handled so beautifully in this book. I don’t have a personal experience with it, but I found the way it was portrayed to be respectful, kind and not at all condescending. A lot of research was done on wolves, too, their behavior and pack dynamics, and it didn’t feel like random facts were just shoved down your throat for no reason. They had their time and place, served their purpose in the story and helped you understand the story so much more – not to mention, make it a lot cooler.
Overall, I thought this book was amazing. It had all the things I look for in a female protagonist and storyline and was such a breeze to read! Plus, it had wolves! What more could I possibly ask for?
I would have given it five stars but there were some things that confused and bothered me. For instance, there was a parental figure relationship that creeped me out a little and some decisions Nessa made (and adventures she got herself into) that seemed a little stupid on her part and could have been handled differently. Of course, she’s a teenager and maybe I’m just expecting too much from her, given the situations that were completely out of her league.
The pace did slow a bit at times but it was not a huge deal for me, as it gave me time to process everything that had happened until that point and just enjoy the ride. Calmly. Otherwise, I found myself going through chapter after chapter without taking notice of the time, which was incredible!
The ending was the absolute cherry on top for me and if I hadn’t been in love with this story by then, I was when it was finished. The only negative aspect of it is that I felt like I needed to read more about Nessa and the gang! And I just don’t know if there’ll be more Weregirl.
I highly recommend this book, especially if you’re a Teen Wolf fan, which it reminds me so much of. This features a teenage girl going through a werewolf transformation and a best friend to join her in her search for the truth. Humor, action and the tiniest bit of romance make it a winning choice in my opinion.
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You can now find Weregirl in your local bookstore but also on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Book Depository. Follow Nessa’s adventure on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad and the official website.
Tell me your thoughts below and whether this review has inspired you to try this book. Happy reading!