Title: Never Cry Werewolf
Author: Heather Davis
Page Count: 215 pages
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
50 words or less: Teen girl extraordinaire Shelby ends up at rich kid rehab with rockin' rebel boy Austin. True loooove results and of course there is ANGST. Oh, and Austin is a werewolf.
Did you ever wonder what life would be like if you somehow ended up stranded in the woods with Jack Osbourne and Miley Cyrus? What if you weren't stranded at the woods, but were in fact imprisoned at SUMMER CAMP? And what if Jack Osbourne wasn't actually a human being at all, but a human being who could turn into a wolf? If so you are indeed in luck, as that right there is basically the story of Never Cry Werewolf.
I'm going to come right out and say it, so set your phasers to stun please: I did not enjoy this book.
I came into this book excited to read it, interested in the premise (I love werewolf stories,) wanting to like it, wanting to enjoy the hijinks of the characters and the ultimate resolution of the story, and I don't know whether it was because the whole shebang was only 215 pages or if I've just left that phase of my life where I can connect to stories like this, but I felt just as uninspired and unimpressed on page 215 as I did on page 1.
Shelby by herself isn't unlikeable; she's boy crazy, self absorbed, and unable to conduct a conversation without naming every label on every piece of clothing that she's wearing (don't call her a fashionista though) but she does have a few moments where her personality starts to shine, and she's definitely had to overcome some serious things in her past. I don't know if she's an accurate portrayal of girls in high school now or what, but hers was definitely the most developed character of the story.
I honestly have no opinion of Austin whatsoever; he didn't really receive a lot of character development and all we really learn about him is that his dad is a rock star who certainly reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne (accident? on purpose?), he's superdreamycute, and he has some bizarre "medical condition" that other kids think is just straight-up drug addiction. As the story goes on, it also becomes clear that he and Shelby share a lot of the same issues and emotional baggage.
I think I would be hard pressed to recall a single other character's name. Seriously. I can't recall anything about the camp where the kids all stayed or anything else that happened in the story. Oh, apparently Austin's lycanthropy can be pharmeceutically controlled! I'm not really sure why this was a necessary part of the story. There a couple of plot points that revolve around that little tidbit before the story just gives up on being about anything and fast forwards to the epic fight scene and the stunning makeouts, also known as the conclusion.
Let's take a moment and talk about the conclusion. I appreciate that the target audience for the book is probably not my demographic and that concepts of relationships are certainly different for everyone, but I guess a dude surprising me at boot camp, sucking on my tonsils and then that being the end of the story just doesn't appeal to me. If Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured the song that reminded me of the book as a whole, the ending of the book reminded me of a warped version of John Cusack holding up the radio at the end of Say Anything.
Despite my hopefully obvious lack of connection with the book, it wasn't a complete wash. I can definitely see a much younger audience enjoying the story and connecting with the characters, and anything that keeps people reading at an age when reading isn't a cool thing to do is certainly okay by me. If someone was reading this, I wouldn't slap it out of their hands or anything, but will I be recommending it to anyone I know? Probably not. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
Overall Grade: D-