title: Blood and Chocolate
author: Annette Curtis Klause
how I read it: print book from the library
Vivian is a werewolf. Her pack – hard-partying, hard-living, dangerous and wild – lives in the human world but also apart from them. As the only female teenager in the pack, Vivian is a bit isolated. While she grew up playing and roughhousing with The Five – five young males of about the same age as her – now that they are no longer children, the energy between them has changed. She misses her father who died not long ago, and she and her mother have a volatile, changeable relationship. Vivian longs for something more; and she believes that she has found it in Aidan, a human (“meat-boy”) that she meets at school.
I really enjoyed this fast-paced book. The story was unpredictable and exciting. It drew me in and kept me turning pages until the very end. I was especially fascinated by the depiction of werewolves as both violent and sensual animals.
While there were no explicit sex scenes, this book is very sexually charged. Sex and power are inextricably linked, and Vivian has absolutely no qualms about using her sexuality as a tool. I have to admit that some of the messages in this book about love and sex left me feeling very uncomfortable. The ending, in particular, left me feeling unsettled. Don’t get me wrong; I have absolutely no problems with sexuality in young adult novels. Sexuality is such a huge part of adolescence that it would be utterly naive to omit it. But after reading this book, I was left wondering about the author’s intent. I can’t really discuss my thoughts here beyond that without spoiling the book, but I’d be very happy to discuss further with anyone through email.
Despite these issues with the book, I really enjoyed the story and especially Vivian’s character. While she is not always likeable and I couldn’t always relate to her, she is an extremely strong female character. She knows what she wants, and she is fully confident in her ability to get it. She has both human characteristics – longing, loneliness – and wild, feral werewolf qualities that meld together to create an extremely interesting character.
This book made me want to: run really, really fast.
Verdict: a tight, compelling read. I do think that this book should be previewed by parents and discussed afterwards with younger teens.
Sequels: nope! This is a standalone book.