Weregirl by C.D. Bell

Weregirl Book Cover Weregirl
C. D. Bell
Young Adult Fiction
Chooseco
November 1, 2016
Kindle, Hardcover
400

Eager to escape the small town of Tether, Michigan, once home to 90s corporate polluter Dutch Chemical, high school junior Nessa Kurland is focused on winning a college scholarship for cross-country running. Motivated to improve her times, she fits running into her busy schedule between school, helping out at home, and a weekend job at a vet's office. One night she is out on a stealth training run when she comes across a trapped wolf. Trusting her animal skills from working for the vet, Nessa tries to free the animal but is bitten badly instead. The first clue that something has changed is her freakishly quick recovery. A wound that should take weeks to heal is gone in days. Other changes, both powerful and frightening, begin to emerge. She can hear conversations a quarter of a mile away and smell the cold weather coming. Finally, one day, she is transformed into a full werewolf. In this state, she begins to see and understand things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. What is a Nobel laureate doing working one day per week in a small-town medical clinic? Is the interest from some top college track scouts genuine or a ruse to get her off the scent? Managing her power drastically alters the course of her daily life. The question is what will Nessa do with the secrets she learns, and what will others do once they realize what she knows? Now Nessa must navigate the social, romantic, and academic challenges of junior year while coming face to face with true human darkness, all while she tries to make peace with her new, wild nature.

Don’t judge a book by its genre…

book-genres

I have to admit that I was a little bit skeptical when my daughter, Erin, told me I needed to read Weregirl by C.D. Bell. While I’m not opposed to YA shifter books, they tend to be a predictable and can even be a little annoying withya shifter their teenage angst and hormones.  But, since I was all caught up on the books I had to read/review and there wasn’t anything I just had to get my hands on I took her up it.  I am so glad I did!

Weregirl starts out as a typical YA read; young girl in high school, fairly bland and overlooked, is bitten by a wolf and starts having strange experiences and transformations.  From that point on you need to throw out all your preconceived ideas because the story morphs into a mystery thriller that is appropriate for teens but so well written kayakthat adults will be hooked.  I literally could not put it down until I was finished with it, which is a bad book to be reading when you have holiday activities to contend with! Luckily, its a fairly short read, only 400 pages, and like being in a kayak on a fast moving current, it snags you and pulls you to the end.

Ms. Bell has also put together an extremely authentic cast. The main character, Nessa, is an average teenager with typical crushes, insecurities and worries but is not hard to relate to because she is so personable.  She is genuine and practical and has a really big heart. Friends-Forever-Wallpaper30 I also was struck by the fact that her best friend, Bree, was a very prominent character that helped her throughout the story, exactly how most teenage best friends would be.  Most shifter stories involve the main character having to deal with their transformation on their own or through the help of other paranormals, adding to the realization that this is all fantasy. But, by incorporating realistic character interactions the line between fantasy and reality is easily blurred.

Another cool aspect of this book is the backstory. The acknowledgements state, “It was originally conceived of by the team at Chooseco, a small publishing company that was founded to relaunch the Choose Your Own Adventure series over a decade ago.  Once the idea of the book was hatched, five members of Chooseco staff held a retreat at a house in the Eastern Townships of rural Quebec and began to plot a book about a girl who is bitten by a wolf on a nighttime run and starts to transform.”  After hashing out the basic structure, including all the main characters and their backgrounds, they then invited Ms. Bell to to join the group and write the actual novel.  The group was very involved and instrumental throughout the whole writing process.

While Weregirl is a stand alone novel, the ending leaves enough openings for a follow up book.  I would love to read more! (hint, hint Ms. Bell!)

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