Werewolves are so not my thing. I am boring, prosaic. I like real people and realistic fiction. I was almost an entire decade behind on the Harry Potter bandwagon. I never felt the need to squeal over Twilight. Dystopian novels are not my gig. I read mid-century girl lit for fluffy, thoughtless reading. (Betty Cavanna-Anne Emery-Janet Lambert devotees unite!)
I know! I. Am. Boring. The thing is, I had a depression/anxiety problem when I was a teen. (I still have it to some extent if I don't exercise/sleep/eat right. In other words, after each and every of my four pregnancies. Postpartum OCD. I didn't know it was a thing, I thought I was just bizarre. But it is legit and turned my world upside down each time.) Reading about uncertainty and never before conceived of things to worry about was not my idea of a good time. I wanted realistic things with problems that could be solved in a mostly happy way. I didn't want sugar sweet, I just wanted some sweetness somewhere. I wanted hope.
So the depths of dystopian and fantasy themes in today's YA genre were left unplumbed by me. Until I had to take a Young Adult Literature class last spring. I didn't have high hopes, but I figured I could slog through the book list.
As it turns out, I may not be keen on fantasy, but I do make exception for masterfully executed fantasy. JK Rowling is a genius. I adored the Harry Potter books. But the fact that everyone said Rowling was incredible made me even more convinced that I wouldn't enjoy lesser authors attempts.
Enter Maggie Stiefvater.
I am not sure I would go so far as to say she is on the same level as Rowling. But I loved this book.
There was a bit of angst. There were mystical happenings. There are inter-species longings that were a little weird.
But they all combine in a marvelous way. Things make sense. Inter-species longings are justified. The entire werewolf thing is believable. (If werewolves living in a brick house in a Minnesota suburb is believable.)
And there is romance. Love that transcends all the weirdness. And best of all, there is hope.
Sam is a werewolf who is more human than wolf. Grace is a 17 year old human who is really drawn to the wolves in the Minnesota woods behind her home. One wolf in particular stands out--the one with yellow colored eyes.
As the town demands the death of all the wolves for the suspected attack of a high school student, Sam suddenly finds himself wounded on Grace's back door step in human form. Fortunately, Grace's parents are completely non-involved. She can invite him in and care for him without worrying about her parents finding a teenage boy hanging around in her room. (Despite the werewolf thingy, this was one of the most unbelievable parts.) Of course, they fall in love. There is a connection between them. But why?
Time is limited. The cold makes Sam turn into a wolf again. And it is October in Minnesota. How long will they have together before he turns? And will he ever turn human again or is this brief time their only shot at happiness?
Angst. Love. Werewolves. Hope.
They are all there in glorious technicolor.
(Of course, there are additional books in the series, if you get hooked.)