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Blood and ChocolateBook Review
by Navah Wolfe
Vivian Gandillon's life went up in smoke along with her father and her family's home one night last May, and nothing has been the same since. She is a werewolf, a member of a fierce and ancient clan that has survived through secrecy and devotion to the old ways. But now, as her clan lingers leaderless and restless in a Maryland suburb, Vivian longs to break away. She no longer understands - or even likes - her mother, who has taken to fighting over men half her age. And she feels distant and disgusted by The Five, a group of young male werewolves her age.
Instead, Vivian is drawn to Aiden, a quiet dreamy boy. Aiden is fascinated by the supernatural world, by the unusual - and with him, Vivian feels like she can let down her guard and be herself - in all but the most important way. For Aiden is human - a meat-boy - and though she knows that she shouldn't, she longs to reveal her true nature to him.
Vivian's loyalties are strained even further when a brutal series of murders threatens to reveal the pack. Conflicted and confused, Vivian must figure out what she believes in and where she belongs when nothing seems clear at all.
The best part of this supernatural teen romance is Vivian. She is a strong character, and her voice and personality flood this book. Vivian is willful and sensual, and cares deeply about her people even when she desperately wants to turn her back on them. She straddles the line between being other, being different, being a member of a clan that does things a certain way and wanting to remain loyal - and being a teenager, with wants and drives and needs that conflict sharply with family tradition. She is comfortable and happy with her werewolf identity - it is only the distancing and sometimes archaic laws of her family that she struggles against. She is a fascinating character, and watching her grow and change and discover herself is one of the primary joys of this book.
The plot meanders a bit, but doesn't lose its audience. While this story seems to start out as a teen romance, it moves slowly in the direction of a family power struggle and a murder mystery. Though the different aspects sometimes seem disjointed, the use of Vivian's POV ties it all together. Many readers dislike the ending of this book, but I was quite satisfied with Vivian's choices. Vivian's decision -as well as the twist ending - come together to make this a meaty, satisfying read.
Navah Wolfe Navah Wolfe is a kidlit junkie and children's bookseller. She lives in New York City.
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