Nessa Kurland is running for her life. A college scholarship for cross-country is her route of Tether, Michigan, a town on the brink of shutdown since it was stripped of its resources by corporate polluter Dutch Chem.
Talented teammate Cynthia Sinise invites Nessa on a nighttime run through Tether’s overgrown forest trails. But she speeds ahead, leaving Nessa to discover a trapped wolf.
Nessa tries to free the animal but is badly bitten instead, ruining her hopes for a strong fall season with the cross-country team.
But her freakishly quick recovery is followed by improved running times. All her senses are heightened.
Nessa has transformed. She has become a werewolf.
In her new state, Nessa learns there are things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. Why does a Nobel Laureate work at the small-town medical clinic? Are top college athletic scouts really interested in her emerging talent? Can she trust Chayton, the motorcycle-riding guide her friends have afith in?
Nessa must navigate her junior year and true human darkness, while making peace with her new, wild nature.
Weregirl by C. D. Bell (Book 1 of the Weregirl Trilogy)
Published: November 2016
Edition: First Edition
Genres: Science Fiction, YA
Shelved: Science Fiction, YA
How I Came to Read the Novel
I was contacted by the Marketing Manager from Chooseco, the publisher of the novel, who offered me an Advance Reader’s Copy of the second book in the trilogy, Chimera, in exchange for an honest review. I accepted the offer. However, I do not like reading series out of order, so I purchased the first book in the trilogy, Weregirl.
This book is a well-written story about a girl coming-of-age in a small town, a town she both loves and wants to escape from. Along with this classic idea, the female protagonist named Nessa Kurland must come to grips with her new-found shape shifting power.
What I loved about this book is that despite the supernatural and fantasy elements of shape-shifting into a wolf, there are elements of reality that are at times raw and even unpleasant to think about. By this I mean the addition of a fictional corporation by the name of Dutch Chem that polluted the water of Tether, Michigan thereby leading to a generation of children born with health problems. This part of the story reminded me of real life events such as the pollution of Flint, Michigan, Woburn, Massachusetts, U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp LeJeune, and countless others. In this manner, Weregirl manages to raise awareness of environmental issues and the importance of corporate responsibility or lack of that pollutant corporations undertake when their actions are discovered. Nonetheless, Weregirl takes the evil corporation to a whole other level by making them part of a nefarious experiment that disrupts the laws of nature and breaks laws of ethical medical care and research experimentation.
Alongside this issue of environmental disasters, racism and cultural appropriation also appear within the book, albeit in a more subdued manner. These issues come into play when Nessa seeks help from mysterious, handsome, and Native American associated Chayton. These moments of racism are more reverse racism, in which Chayton disregards Nessa’s feelings and lack of understanding. And while these moments are a bit refreshing, they also seem to be awkwardly placed. If you were a teenage girl who is suddenly giving the power of shape shifting into a wolf, you would also be highly confused and wanting answers.
The running aspect of the novel is also highly extensive and enjoyable for another girl who enjoys running. For others who do not run as a hobby or a sport, the in-depth running moments may seem too long yet these moments are necessary. They demonstrate the desperation that Nessa wants to leave Tether. As well as the way she is plunged into a whole new life.
The romance within Weregirl is typical teenage drama, self-discovery, and great to read about. It is a bit cliche, but beautifully written and that all makes all the difference. Mixed in with the teen romance is the action of wolf pack fights, trespassing and entering into multiple buildings, and cross-country meets. All of this makes Weregirl an almost impossible to put-down book. And I am very excited to dig into its sequel Chimera which promises to have more action and conspiracy.
I definitely recommend it if you are looking for a slightly different fantasy/ sci-fi read. Or a new tough as nails heroine to cheer on.