Parents' Guide to

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Friendship, community shine in funny, moving werewolf tale.

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Author Kristen O'Neal's first novel is genuinely funny, and genuinely moving, thanks to the realistic and highly individual voices of the many colorful characters. In Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses, a lot of the story is told in an online-chat style, imitating what you might see on your screen if you were part of the group. Lots of books do that now, but O'Neal keeps it lively, engaging, and in a very short time it's easy to tell online, anonymous characters apart from each other just by their voices. The ups and downs that the characters with chronic illness experience quickly become easy to understand and empathize with, without being overwrought or manipulative.

A lot of media makes it seem like affection for and real connection with someone always leads to romantic feelings. So it's refreshing to read about a lovely, same-sex friendship between two people who feel a profound connection, love each other deeply, would do anything for each other, but who aren't romantically attracted at all. The story moves along in a lively and compelling way that keeps the pages turning and every so often offers an emotional punch right in the feelings, without ever letting you forget that there seems to be a werewolf on the loose. Mature topics and strong language make it best for teens and up.

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