jump to navigation

Bookends: A young woman is forced to deal with a hairy situation February 7, 2016

Posted by klondykewriter in A Klondike Korner.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Bookends: A young woman is forced to deal with a hairy situation

By Dan Davidson

September 16, 2015

– 858 words –


Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl

by Emily Pohl-WearyWolfgirl

Published by Razorbill Canada

304 pages


eBook version, various platforms – $6.99


Sam Lee isn’t your normal 18 year old. She’s bi-racial and was raised by her feminist mom after her Chinese dad decamped. She’s really smart in a lot of ways, and is a talented lyricist and musician. She is the heart and soul of her wildly successful all-girl trio, the Cream Puffs. Jules may be the singer and front girl, and Malika may be a talented drummer, but the songs and the drive are Sam’s, worked out on Janis, her beloved bass guitar.

But, while she loves the music, the band and the performing, Sam doesn’t like the fame. She’s more of a loner by nature. She has what she calls a Clark Kent life that she tries to keep from being smothered by the fact of being a wealthy rock star. She has her own place, part of which she rents out to some folks that we don’t really meet, but we hear a lot about, and when she’s not on stage, she tends to avoid all the nonsense that could overwhelm her.

One of her joys is riding her bicycle on the paths in New York and it is on one of these night rides through the park that she is attacked by a couple of large dogs, one of which bites her.

If a lot of Young Adult fiction is about coping with bodily changes, Sam is soon in for a doozy of an adaptation. The title of the book had to tell you that she’s been bitten by a werewolf, so I’m not spoiling anything here.

Sam’s changes begin that night, as the vegetarian quickly develops an intense craving for meat, and when she actually has a chance to score with a guy she’s been crushing on for ages, she finds herself tempted to actually eat him up – and not in any good way.

There are dreams, odd things with canine overtones. There’s Marlon, who seems to know just what’s happening to her, but won’t come right out and tell her, until she actually sprouts hair and claws and makes part of the transition. There’s Owen, his brother, who seems to be something of a fan stalker, until it turns out that there’s more of a problem than that.

Marlon’s parents are wealthy and respected academics, and both of them are lycans. The curse, as they call it, began with Pierre Lebrun, and he gave it to his first son and his wife in the usual manner, during times when his inner wolf took control. Owen was born after Francoise had turned, so his case is a bit different, and he has a lot more control issues.

Owen has been looking for a mate for some time, and the only way he could get one was to turn a number of girls and hope one of them didn’t end up dead or deformed. Most females apparently don’t make the change well, something Pohl-Weary’s lycans share with those in Kelly Armstrong’s version of this mythology.

While there are more than a few tense moments in this book and no lack of physical tension, a good deal of it is about Sam trying to cope. The changes are triggered by emotion, particularly fear and anxiety, and she is full of that, not really wanting to have to deal with this new reality at all. At first, there are none of her old peers she can share her problems with, and that makes everything worse.

Her new senses and abilities alter her musical abilities to a degree as her reflexes amp up. There are issues with her bandmates at first. There are inquisitive fans, one of whom snaps pix of her gobbling down some chicken under a tree. There’s a video shoot that goes sideways and a torturous television interview.

But mostly there’s a battle for her attention between the Lebrun boys and the need, once she is aware of it, to do something about the mess that Owen has left in his furry wake all over the city.

For all the serious issues that come up, the book is very funny, with scenes like Sam scarfing down garlic ribs in the a stall in the women’s washroom at a restaurant, or the sophisticated Lebrun parents diving for the meat during a meal at their mansion.

Emily Pohl-Weary is the granddaughter of science fiction icons Frederik Pohl and Judith Merrill and won a Hugo Award herself for her biography of Merrill. Like her grandparents, she has been an editor, a novelist, with a bent towards the fantastic. She has also worked in writing groups with troubled youth in Toronto and at a First Nations, Metis and Inuit transition home there. She has written several YA novels, graphic novels and, most recently, Ghost Sick, a book of poetry inspired by tales of inner city violence.

She has just ended a summer residency at Berton House.







No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: