Review of Weregirl by C.D. Bell

As I promised last week, I have for you a review of Weregirl by C.D. Bell and the folks at Chooseco, the wizards behind one of my childhood staples, the Choose Your Own Adventure books.  Weregirl is NOT a Choose Your Own Adventure book, however.  It’s the first in a new line of straight-up novels “conceived of and plotted by” the folks whose “day job is the relaunch of the Choose Your Own Adventure series.” “C.D. Bell is an alias of teen author Cathleen Davitt Bell, whose latest book is I Remember You (Knopf 2015).” [quotes taken from About the Author section of the ARC]

I received an ARC of this book book from the author/publisher.

AuthorC.D. Bell
Series: stand-alone so far, series planned
Publish Date: November 1, 2016, Chooseco
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Source: ARC provided by the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionHigh school junior, Nessa Kurland, is a cross-country runner with her eyes set on one thing: a college scholarship as her one-way ticket out of Tether.

Talented teammate Cynthia Sinise invites Nessa on a nighttime run through Tether’s overgrown forest trails. But she speeds ahead, leaving Nessa alone to discover a trapped wolf. Nessa tries to free the animal but is badly bitten, seemingly ruining her hopes for a strong fall season with the cross-country team.

Instead, Nessa’s freakishly quick recovery is followed by improved running times. All her senses are heightened. Nessa has transformed.

She has become a werewolf.

In her new state, Nessa learns there are things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. Why does a Nobel Laureate work at the small-town medical clinic? Are top college athletic scouts really interested in her emerging talent? Can she trust Chayton, the motorcycle-riding guide her friends have faith in? WEREGIRL’s Nessa must navigate her junior year and true human darkness, while making peace with her new, wild nature.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

Back in June when I reviewed the 16-chapter sample of Weregirl, I was intrigued by several things: the relationships between Nessa and a couple of her running teammates, the town’s history of chemical poisoning, the history of the doctor who is head of a long-term study of the poisoning effects on the town’s children, and what would happen after Nessa consulted a Native American shaman about her condition. I’m happy to say the full novel delivers the story on all these things.

There is a very positive feeling about this novel, despite some of the awful things that are happening in the town.  The protagonist isn’t a tortured teen, really.  She has a great family, an awesome best friend, a supportive coach. Though she’s going through something weird, people believe her and she handles it very maturely. She has goals and ambitions and she’s putting in hard work toward them.  Nessa is the kind of protagonist I hope shows up in YA more often than not as she’s a great role-model.

I found the writing style to be interesting. The voice seems to be very straight-forward and direct, almost minimalist in some places.  The story is told from a third-person limited point of view, usually from Nessa’s perspective. In the ARC I read, there were occasional slips into another character’s POV, which I suspect will be cleaned up in the final version. Throughout the book, simple vignettes are used to convey something to the reader — maybe a particular emotion or a bit of a relationship. I found those interesting and different than what I normally read.  Taking all of this together, I’m not sure if I liked the style or not. I think it made for a fast read, but there were a few things I wish had been fleshed-out or explained more explicitly.

The real question of the book is, “Why is Nessa chosen to be a werewolf?” Not her transformation. Not how she deals with it.  But the . . . I’ll say “destined” . . . purpose behind it. I really like that part of the story, the mystery that Nessa must solve.

I’m curious to see where this series will go next. There is a book two in the works, and it could go almost anyplace.

badge3v4Overall, I’m going to give this book 3.5 stars.  I love the concept and the mystery, but I’m still undecided about the writing style. My usual disclaimer is that I am NOT the target audience for a young adult book, being way past that stage in life, nor do I read YA often. There is a lot to love in this book, and I’m sure it will find a great audience.

If you like this book…

…you might try Kelley Armstrong’s series of YA novels set in the Otherworld: the Darkest Powers series and the Darkness Rising series. You might also check out Rachel Vincent’s Wildcats series.

I received an ARC of this book book from the author/publisher.


About Invested Ivana

I'm currently a freelance line editor, a book blogger at One Book Two, and lifetime reader. I like geeky things. All opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Red Adept Editing or any of my clients, the other reviewers on this site, or this site as a whole.

Posted on November 8, 2016, in Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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