High school isn't easy...especially when you're a werewolf.
River was once the alpha female of a wolf pack, until the night she was attacked and bitten by a mysterious human. She awoke to find herself completely alone and changed into a young human girl.
Three years later, after being thrust into a world where she doesn't belong, and living in foster care, River believes she'll never know who bit her or why. Then one day at school, all that changes...
As if it wasn't bad enough being stuck in a world she hates, with a life she never asked for, and faced with a destiny she doesn't want, River still must find a way to survive every human's greatest challenge: high school.
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Part One: All the Better to See You With
I got up from my seat and left the theatre barely half an hour into the movie. The entire “mythology”, if the back-story’s quick explanation can be called that, was over within the first five minutes. I know because I counted.
Part of me knew I should stay and tough it out. It wasn’t easy for me to make friends, and since a group of girls from school had asked me to go with them to see the new werewolf horror flick, I realized I should make an effort. But that socially sensible side of me is my human side.
The side I hate.
The truth was that I didn’t care what those people thought of me. I didn’t care what anyone thought. I didn’t belong with them, wasting my days tapping my pencil on the desk in my classroom and spending my nights looking longingly out the bedroom window in my foster home. I didn’t belong locked in the cage called my human body.
I pushed through the throng of teenagers lined up in front of the ticket booth and concession stands, then made my way outside. The weather was freezing cold. It felt more like January than mid-October, and no matter how many layers of clothes I wore, I was always shivering. With the incredible lack of hair humans have on their bodies, one would think they’d have enough sense to live farther south. That would have solved a lot of my problems.
I brushed my white-blonde hair from my eyes, and pulled up the fuzzy collar of my faux-fur trimmed jacket. I wish I could describe the air as fresh, but of course it wasn’t. Living among humans for three years, I had almost forgotten what fresh air was. More kids stood outside, shivering through their too thin—yet fashionable—jackets, puffing away at their cigarettes. For at least ten square feet outside the front door there was nothing but smoke. Mmm, smells like cancer. That’s one brilliant habit humans have.
My foster family wasn’t expecting me home for at least another two hours, so I could allow myself a leisurely walk home. I didn’t need to worry about them checking up on where I was. In truth, I think they were giving up on me. At fifteen, I was the second oldest of the three kids that stayed with Frank and Cindy Jenkins. They had a six-year-old to worry about, and she was a handful. It was her third foster home in as many years, and though she had A.D.D. and was prone to tantrums, the Jenkins still had hope for little Rebecca. Then there was Charlie, a year and a half older than me, and well adjusted to long-term foster care. He’d been with the same family for almost five years, and I’d overheard conversations that they wanted to adopt him.
And then there was me, River Wolfe, found at approximately age twelve with no language skills. There were no matching missing persons reports found, no one to claim me. I was described as withdrawn and short tempered, with some developmental delays...or so I read in my file one day when Rachel, my social worker, came over for her scheduled evaluation. From what I read before she returned from the bathroom, she had me completely nailed. Except for the werewolf part. Minor detail.
“Hey,” I heard a voice call behind me as I rounded the corner of the movie theatre. I figured the guy was hailing someone else. Rarely did anyone go out of his or her way to speak to me, so I continued walking.
“Hey,” the same person said again, this time even closer. “Hey, you got a light?”
I stopped and turned. I didn’t know the guy, and I didn’t care to.
“You got a light?” he repeated.
I stared directly in his eyes, and didn’t move.
He seemed confused at first as he returned my look, then something else took a hold of him. I spotted it in the furthest depths of his eyes, and in the way his throat constricted as he tried to swallow. Fear. Everyone knows the saying that wolves are as afraid of humans as humans are of them. Being both, I fear nothing. But more importantly, both fear me.
I refused to break the stare. After only a few seconds more, he dropped his eyes. Despite how removed from the animal kingdom people like to believe they are, we are all subject to the same social behaviors.
Satisfied I had established myself as the dominant one, I turned and continued my walk. Behind me the guy must have regained himself.
“Freak,” he muttered, then his footsteps pounded in the other direction.
Yes, I thought. Wait until my back is turned, then call me names if it makes you feel superior. After all, I was a freak. Three years ago I had transformed into a monster, so I suppose “freak” was fitting.
My mind was drawn back to the stupid film the girls from school asked me to go to. Not that there weren’t some truly riveting plot developments: man bitten by wolf, turns into werewolf, attacked by a hail of silver bullets, changes by a full moon, blah blah... Now I’ve never been shot by a silver bullet. Hell, I live in Canada: I’ve never even met someone shot by a regular bullet. Perhaps I’m invincible to all but silver, but I’m in no rush to find out. As for the full moon, I only wish it was true. When I first learned to read, I spent hours researching werewolves, and found out some people thought that those bitten turned into wolves every night. Again, no such luck. I have no super senses—at least not anymore—and no preternatural strength. I know I must seem like the crappiest werewolf ever.
I do have something in common with all those terrible werewolf movies, though. I was bitten. The difference is that I wasn’t a human bitten by a wolf.
I was a wolf bitten by a human.
A new take on the werewolf genre!
River isn't your ordinary troubled teenager. She's actually a wolf--the Alpha Female of her pack--who was bitten by a werewolf and transformed into a human. Now forced to live among humans, River has no real interest in blending in with society, but instead longs for her wolf pack and mate. When she learns that there is a chance she might become a wolf again, she is determined not to let anything stand in the way of reuniting with her pack and resuming her former life. Unfortunately, things are far from simple, and the longer River spends away from her pack, the more she becomes entangled--however reluctantly--in the lives of the humans around her.
At last, here is a novel about werewolves where they actually exhibit wolf-like qualities! The author has clearly done her research, and knows something about real-life wolves. These true-life details bring an element of realism to the novel that makes River's journey even more compelling. As for River herself, she is a fascinating character who balances cynicism with dark humor. Her wolf nature and her initial hatred of all things human mean that she seldom bothers to hold back, either with her words or her fists, a situation that at first makes her an outsider but later places her in the position of protector to her friends and foster-brother. But, beyond the frequent action that kept me riveted, RIVER is a story about learning to accept oneself, about forgiveness for past mistakes, and about the love of friends and family--or of a wolf for her pack. This book is a permanent addition to my keeper shelf, and will be revisited many times in the years to come.
Reviewed by Elaine Corvidae www.onecrow.net
A Unique Werewolf Story
River Wolfe is not happy, and she doesn't care who knows it. She's also a werewolf, which is what she's unhappy about. Just a year ago, she was living a perfectly ordinary life, until the bite of a horrible beast destroyed her life forever, taking away family and everything else she held dear. The beast: a human being. And she'll do whatever it takes to find him and make him tell her how to reverse the change...Even go to high school.
This is a terrific book, filled with unique and well-drawn characters, realistic dialogue, and a great deal of humor, as River has to deal with a sudden and undesired transformation into a species that makes no sense to her. Nor do her friends understand her most of the time, but they feel the effects of her nature as she struggles to recover the pack she lost.
I just stumbled across this, ordered it and finished reading it in the same day.
Reviewed by Marc Vun Kannon, ParaNormal Romance Review
fantastic twist on the werewolf theme!
What happens when a human werewolf bites a wolf?
River Wolfe is trapped in a human body and forced to endure the indignities of high school, just like any other teenaged girl. However, just three years ago, River was the alpha female of her wolf pack until a mysterious male transformed her with one bite into a two legged human. River wants nothing more than to return to her pack and all of her thoughts, dreams, and sketches are of wolves and of her beloved wolf pack.
One day in her physical education class, River spots him- the hated male who bit her and forced this human existence on her. His name is Daryl Marsden and Daryl is determined to draw River out of her shell. Daryl offers River bits and pieces of information about what has happened to her and gives her hope that maybe she can return to her life as a wolf. River will have to make some tough choices regarding her future in this stunning new novel by Skyla Dawn Cameron.
No one would ever guess that RIVER is a debut novel unless you told them! Skyla Dawn Cameron has perfectly captured the angst of the teenage years in a format that will appeal to adults as well as teens. River's struggle to understand basic human interactions, such as the need for excessive words or attending a dance, is both poignant and insightful. One will clearly see just how awful humanity can be at times while reading RIVER.
RIVER is not a completely dark story, however. Secondary characters such as River's foster brother, Charlie, and her newly acquired friend, Jen, also bring glimpses into what is right about humanity. Both Charlie and Jen are underdogs who look up to River as she struggles to assert herself when challenged by other humans.
Skyla Dawn Cameron has clearly demonstrated a remarkable gift at capturing the true essence of humanity, both the good and the bad. RIVER is not your typical werewolf story by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the wolf theme serves almost more as a symbol. Fans looking for a unique twist on the werewolf theme need look no further than RIVER as Skyla Dawn Cameron is definitely an author to keep an eye on!
COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES
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