I believe that I was thirteen when I first read this book and I carried vivid memories of it with me for years. It’s one of those books that I have loved to thrust at people and say, “This was so good! I read it over 20 years ago and I still remember it!” That’s kind of true and kind of not. There was a lot that I forgot.
Let’s get this straight right away: Vivian is not human. She is a werewolf. She wasn’t bitten and changed, she was born a werewolf and she was born into a pack. A lot of people seem to be really bothered by the pack politics but, you know, these are not PEOPLE.
Anyway, it seems pretty obvious to me that Vivian is not human just in how she carries herself. At the beginning of the book, she says that she sticks mostly to herself. She doesn’t understand how to make friends because she has never had to, she just hung out with her age mates. When one of her art pieces is featured in the school magazine, she is surprised to find a poem next to it that perfectly matches. Werewolves are the subject of both works and she even suspects that there might be another werewolf at her school. What she find is a boy with long hair and a relaxed, easy way about him that she finds irresistible. They start to date.
This is taboo in her pack, though. Humans and werewolves have to remain separate. They can’t mate and telling a human what you are is against the Law. The pack is already in a tumultuous time, having been chased out of their last home by a few angry men who burned their inn down with Vivian’s father inside. Now the pack is without a leader and in shambles. They decide to have an Ordeal where wolves fight to see who will lead. In the meantime, Vivian is fighting with her mother who is going after the much younger Gabriel and she is avoiding her age mates who played a part in the loss of their last home.
I loved this book. I read it faster than I have read a book in a long time. There’s a lot going on here: friendships, romance, family dynamics, pack politics. Vivian is learning to be a human but really she is also learning what it means to be a wolf and she has to learn which part of that is the most important to her.
Excellent read! Great for people who liked Twilight but with a little more edge.