I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
You know, part of this reread project I’m doing is to give second chances. But upon rereading Never Cry Werewolf I think I hated it more than I did way back when it was released.
Have publishing standards really changed that much since the book was released?
Well, no. Obviously. Otherwise Halo and a host of other horrible YA novels wouldn’t have been released. But Never Cry Werewolf is just well…bad on so many levels.
Levels that are almost, too boring to talk about.
I have to though. And I think the best way to start off this so called glorious conversation is to talk about the era it was published in (2009).
Five years ago, which doesn’t seem that long. But in the terms of YA publishing, it’s a lot.
Five years, ago Twilight fever was at it’s height and if you had anything with a vampire, werwolf, or hot guy who had paranormal ability with abs automatic publishing contract.
I can just imagine how the query letter went:
You should represent/publish my book because it has a hot guy with an accent and a paranormal creature in it. The hot guy takes his shirt off a lot.
Okay, Davis probably went into a little bit more depth than that, but the substance of the book really didn’t go that much beyond that.
A part of me wants to say that it’s eerily similar to Born at Midnight, but even that book in all it’s sheer awfulness is better because it actually attempts at a plot. And doesn’t just try to push the YA tropes to the max and then well forget having an actual plot.
I can basically sum the book up like this: Evil stepmother sends our innocent heroine to a camp full of evil campers. But never fear, there’s a hot guy at the camp so it’s not that bad. But our heroine has to get herself in trouble because she’s as brave and stupid as Clary Fray. Except unlike that lackluster series, there’s not even an attempt of a plot made here.
Yep, that sums it up.
Yes, we have a character who has Clary Fray level of stupidity there.
That’s a pretty big insult.
If you have no idea who I’m talking about (and I hope you do, you really need to be spared that pain) Clary Fray is the insipid heroine of The Mortal Instruments series. She thinks she’s Batman. But she’s not.
That’s about how stupid Shelby is, but since she has no supernatural powers whatsoever I’d say she’s a shade dumber.
That’s hard for me to admit, that someone is dumber than Clary Fray.
I’d almost feel sorry for her. Almost. At the beginning I did think her stepmother was over reacting by sending her to brat camp for missing curfew. Actually, a lot of the adults I thought were overreacting to the point that the were caricatures, but at the same time I sort of think Shelby deserves to be sent to TSTL school.
Hum, TSTL school. You know, I could make a lot of money from such a school.
Shelby would be a prime candidate. I mean, if you were being sent to brat camp would you openly defy your counselor to search for a complete stranger in the middle of nowhere.
And yeah, even if you’ve been camping before it’s still the middle of nowhere. In an environment your not familiar with.
Oh, but wait. He’s British and that means (according this book) that he lacks the skills to survive in the wild.
This book forgets that the British empire colonize a large portion of the world centuries in the past, and had to survive in the wild. Well, let’s not count Roanoke.
Add that with the all British people are hot because they have an accent-never mind that there are several types of British accents-I start to feel sorry for anyone who lives in the United Kingdom when reading this book.
As for the hot guy with the British accent. Well, Austin, is well as dull as they come. If you imagine Jack Osbourne looking like Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You, that’s Austin. But add a boring streak. And that’s really him. Funny, she used Ledger he’s Australian not British. But I guess that’s close enough.
I don’t get how Davis can think her audience is so shallow. Add an accent a pair of abs and that’s all you need for characterization apparently.
Besides, having to extremely dull and stupid characters as are protagonists, there are the side characters to contend with. The best friend character (Ariel) surprisingly did not offend me, but what did offend me were the adults.
As I already said, total caricatures.
I really don’t think society has changed that much in five years.
I mean, I remember when I was Shelby’s age and while my parents would freak out if I missed curfew they wouldn’t send me to brat camp. Also, those counselors making you (no, forcing you) to share all the details of your past. Psychology 101, don’t force people to share things they’re not ready to share yet.
So, wouldn’t happen.
Unless they wanted a big fat lawsuit.
There is such a thing called privacy and something else called negligence.
As for the whole drug contraband plotline.
All it would’ve taken would’ve been a quick phone call to Austin’s dad. They wouldn’t even call his personal assistant in real life. Because in those type of situations you’d call a parent or guardian or perhaps the police-if they believed it was illegal substances.
So, that whole plot point.
And the fact that there wasn’t anything else going on in the book made it even more stupid.
So, what was I left with. To boring useless character. With a dumb plot. That gets resolved that only leaves the narrator in deep shit.
Needless to say, I don’t recommend this one. It’s not fully fleshed out, and purely written to cash in on what was the time a growing genre. I really wish I had something nice to say about the book, but I don’t. I think upon reread it was even more painful. While it’s true that there are still some God awful books being published in the genre, I do think that YA has improved since the publication of this book. Which I’m grateful for. What I’m not grateful for, is that there are still lots of books like this being published.
Overall Rating: F. It just fails.