Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all the sense of normalcy: She's a werewolf. As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger. Claire's new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love. Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin. With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart. she will make a choice that will change her forever...
I'd like to begin this review with the definetion of purple prose. Purple prose is a term used to describe passages, or sometimes entire literary works, written in prose so overly extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself. Purple prose is sensually evocative beyond the requirements of its context. It also refers to writing that employs certain rhetorical effects such as exaggerated sentiment or pathos in an attempt to manipulate a reader's response (to quote Wikipedia). With that in mind, let us continue.
So, like the recently reviewed Half Life, we find ourselves in a subtle type of alternative universe, one where everything is as it is now, except the existance of werewolves is common knowledge. There are no males, just as there are no secrets, and you'd only have to hide yourself if you've either killed a guy or, like Claire, just embarassed about your lineage.
Enter Claire; one of those girls who says again and again how unpopular they are, yet they manage to invite all of the "most popular kids in school" to her pool party and--here's the kicker--they show up. Her reasoning for this is that she is, evidently, the only person within the town's realm of knowledge with a pool. Right here is where my bullshit senses start tingling. I immediately don't like Claire, which is bad, because we haven't even hit fifty pages yet. I don't know about you, but in my school, just because an "unpopular" kid has a pool doesn't mean they can have a shitload of people they don't know come over to swim in it. Shit like that don't happen.
So, this is her sixteenth, a big'n by any standards. Her party is only slightly dampened by rumors of the werewolf that's been terroizing the town hiding out in the woods behind her house, mainly because SUPER POPULAR JOCK Mathew tots told her he'd call her later. Soon, though, our heroine begins to develop some strange rashes and stranger sleeping habits. Turns out--holyshit!--she's a werewolf, and her mother just happened to keep it from her for...yeah, her whole life. So now we have the old "I must juggle being a teenager and a werewolf at the same time!!!!" shtick, except a lot more whining and a lot less Micheal J. Fox.
Hollow. That was what I finished this thing thinking. Hollow. Empty, mass-produced, flat people, places and things. There was simply nothing to make me interested in Claire, or Mathew, or their individually psycho parents, or their friends (whom, by the way, fall under my ever-growing list of Really Annoying Best Friends in YA Lit), or anything. It was just so boring and, I hate to say, pointless that I struggled to make it past the hundred page mark. I was finding excuses not to read it. I helped my mom look for her earring for three hours, goddamn it!
I think the main issue I had with Johnson's debut is that it is so unbelievably unremarkable. There was absolutly nothing that made it stand out from all the other paranormal YA's out there. It was just a silly little werewolf story that in no way--writing, characters, plot--make itself stand out. All Claire ever did was annoy me and, even worse, bore me. I can't even think of a coherent reason for this, just that it was so much like everything out these days that in the process of writing this review, I have already forgotten half the characters names.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Also: I don't know about you, but I'm finding that all the books us supernatural readers turn our nose up at are actually much more profound and well-written then the actual paranormal crap. Like, the ones with the covers of a couple holding hands and little cherries on it and cupcakes and rainbows and all that shit, its all turning out to be so much better then the ones with the dark and moody covers. Am I alone on this one?