Heather Davis introduces readers to Shelby, the protagonist of her new book, Never Cry Werewolf. Shelby has recently lost her mother, and her eccentric, rich and distracted father has remarried a woman, she can not stand. To battle her chaotic new home-life, Shelby acts out by being a little bit boy-crazy. A walk under the moon with a cute guy from her school, ends in a one way ticket to brat camp. They’ll be no trip to Cabo with her school chums – nope, its camping, hiking, and mountain climbing – all while listening to camp counselors spew self-help nonsense to make Shelby feel better about herself.
Her life is looking rather bleak as she is serenaded with perky camp songs by the camp counselor … when Austin Bridges III drives up in a stretch limo … and Shelby boy-crazy meter goes off.
Austin, son of an oddball rock star, has been sent to brat camp by mistake and immediately has his back-pack stolen by another male camper. The thief’s attempts at escape and Austin’s pursuit to retrieve his backpack send Shelby on a mission to rescue them and the errant camp counselor who has gone to find them. This set-up didn’t make much sense to me. Why would the the back-pack have been taken? The only think I could figure was that Charles was form the get-go trying to pin something on Austin – if this was the case, it should have been explained.
Maybe it is because I have been watching a lot of Disney & Noggin lately (highlight of the night – The Fresh Beat Band), but I finished this book and wasn’t disappointed. This book is all about how you approach it – the reader base should be young and for a 12 year old – it is good. The writing is done well, the tone is light and there is nothing dark, dreary or deep. I really don’t mind stereotypical characters. There is a reason that there are a ton of books about the mean stepmothers – because it happens all the time IRL.
Harris’ characters weren’t as developed as I would have hoped. Shelby was described as tough, but I found that she was actually easily distracted and pressured by the guys she is interested in, she always mentioned that she wasn’t swayed by fashion as all the other girls were, but she was constantly referring to her clothing lines – yeah American Eagle – boo Prada. I really liked the character of Ariel and would have liked to have seen more development with her. Austin was a contradiction – he came across as the tough guy in the beginning but as it progressed he looked more and more like a pacifist and sensitive, but depth wasn’t really reached with him at all.
Some of the dialog was also a bit off kilter. The big reveal conversation was very awkward and Austin’s speech was downright bizarre. He sounded like the prime minister of England, all distinguished gentleman – not the werewolf son of a rock star. I understand that he is british, but my brit buddies might speak better than my american chums, but they don’t speak that prim and proper. This was the only example of awkward dialog though, throughout the rest of the book, the dialog was actually very good, which is why this particular scene stood out so much.
The reveal was not what I would call spectacular, but you basically know what he is as soon as he is introduced, so I wasn’t expecting to be surprised.
Once you get past the reveal the story actually gets better. Shelby and Austin start showing some depth and the plot starts to converge into something tangible. I was frustrated with some of Shelby’s actions, and Charles is just downright annoying (obviously supposed to be). The ending was sweet, with a big “Awwwwww….” like you would at the end of a Selena Gomez film… and overall the book was good. This is really, though, a teen book, and older audiences might find it very juvenile. I recommend the book for 11 to 15 year olds and moms don’t have to worry about anything sexual or inappropriate. I can defiantly see a Disney made for TV movie – with Selena Gomez as Shelby and one of those annoying twins from that hotel show as Austin. Buy it for your tween.