Blood and Chocolate
Young Adult book review by Kimi McDiarmid
In a nutshell: Blood and Chocolate is an exciting, lively story of a teenage werewolf.
While I haven't seen the movie version which came out last year, the book is a strong depiction of a girl's problems with the death of her father, falling in love with potentially the wrong guy, and the possibility that she might have killed someone. A few other things happen along the way.
Exciting is definitely the right adjective.
I've read Blood and Chocolate a couple of times since I acquired it, mostly to double check if it is appropriate for a specific student. I work with a lot of teens and preteens, and they each reach the point where they can handle more violence in a book at a different age.
Because the book is written from main character Vivian's point of view, it feels very real and you are drawn into her confusion. The book moves at a good pace: quick. Events in Vivian's life seem to be throwing themselves at her.
As a werewolf, Vivian is caught between two worlds. (I think a lot of teens can relate to this feeling).
Her pack has moved to a new area and they must stay inconspicuous. This is difficult, as they are in a city as opposed to a remote wilderness, but they had to move quickly after several incidents occurred in their old home, one of which led to Vivian's father's death.
At school, Vivian encounters a human boy who she feels understands her. This causes problems (and very nearly his death), both because she eventually wants to tell him what she is and because the younger male members of her pack (The Five) are jealous.
(It doesn't help much that Vivian is the only female in her age group within the pack).
It is also a bit funny and creepy when the boy, Aiden, takes her home to meet his family. Loup-Garou (werewolf) families are apparently quite different from human families, and Vivian doesn't really understand the difference, although the reader does. This adds an interesting layer to the story.
Vivian inadvertently becomes alpha female of the pack when she disrupts a fight between another female and her mother. She wins the fight and discovers that it was the ritual 'dance' to determine who would be the mate of the new leader.
Obviously, Vivian is very busy in this story.
Ultimately, this book is about a girl who stands up for herself and tries to protect her family in the best way that she can. Unfortunately, several deaths have occurred and Vivian thinks she might have caused them, so her way of protecting her pack might not have been the best one from the reader's perspective. Vivian does tend to do things in a dramatic way.
This book is great for teens who like books with vampires or books with werewolves. I've noticed some comparisons to the popular Twilight series, but the feel of the two books is very different.
(Vivian's motivations are very different from what Bella, the main character of Twilight, needs).
Despite the differences, I have recommended Blood and Chocolate to older teens who liked Twilight, as well as to teens who like fantasy novels. For many of them, the supernatural main character is enough of an incentive to start reading.
Read more of Kimi's reviews.
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