A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know this is an intense book for mature teens. Micah, the main character, is a compulsive liar who claims to be a werewolf (though some of the adults around her think she has psychological problems). Her secret boyfriend is murdered, and later Micah reveals how she found his body, which had been ripped to shreds. Micah also talks about their intense sexual relationship, and later describes kissing and more with two other classmates. The language can be rough at times, as can the narrative.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
It's easy to believe that Micah's a compulsive liar, especially after she starts revealing all the lies she's told (like pretending to be a boy during her freshman year of school). It's harder to trust her when she says that she had nothing to do with her boyfriend's murder -- or that she is now capable of telling the whole and complete truth. Readers won't know what to think when she tells them she's actually a werewolf -- especially when police discover that Zach was eviscerated in New York City's Central Park by something that looks like dogs.
Is it any good?
This book is simply thrilling. Is Micah actually a werewolf, or is she, as one teacher theorizes, simply a confused girl who's "rejecting [her] own body" by pretending to be something more masculine? Either way, did she kill Zach -- and was it intentional or just something that happened in the heat of the moment? Not knowing the answers is, of course, much of the fun, and readers will love racing through this fast-paced book trying to sort out the truth. Micah's non-linear storytelling gives readers more to sort out, as do the various theories about the origin of werewolves.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about controversy over the book's US cover. Though Micah describes herself as black, she was portrayed as white on the cover that first came out (they have since changed it). In the author's blog, she says that while she objected, "editors have told me that their sales departments say black covers don’t sell." She asks readers "When was the last time you bought a book with a person of colour on the front cover?" Does the face on the cover make a difference in your own buying choices?
Micah is a good example of an unreliable narrator. Even at the book's end, readers will wonder what they can believe. Can you think of other books with unreliable narrators? Do you find that this makes a book more interesting, or do you get frustrated wondering what to believe?