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A Reader of Fictions: The Leader of the Pack - The Shangrilas

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Leader of the Pack - The Shangrilas

Once in a Full Moon
Full Moon, Book 1

Author: Ellen Schreiber
Genre: fantasy, young adult
Pages: 189
ARC Acquired From: HarperTeen via netGalley

Brief Summary:
Celeste is living the perfect life. She's one of the popular people and is dating the most popular guy in school, who is, of course, the star of the football and basketball teams. Her two best friends are dating his two best friends. What could be better? Well, maybe the mysterious, sexy new guy Brandon, who even saved her from a wolf pack, sustaining a bite in the process. Her boyfriend, Nash, has never been as attentive as she would like, so, after an act of cowardice and some flirting with another girl, she decides to break up with him. With him out of the way, she has time to research the werewolf legends in Legend's Run for a paper and to research Brandon too, who just might, unbelievably be a werewolf.

Celeste does not actually like Nash at all. She mentions that when he first asked her out, she truly thought it was a joke, because he "was known for pranks around schoolgum on chairs, funny sayings on blackboards, sticking naughty pictures in textbooksand I'd yet to be picked as his victim " (22). When Nash tells jokes, everyone laughs, except for Celeste, who finds them to be in bad taste (34). When he runs away from howling wolves, she has to "put on a brave face to mask [her] disappointment in [her] boyfriend's cowardice" (18). Despite her rather obvious lack of connection to Nash, even after the break up, Celeste continues to allow him to escort her to classes and buy her lunch every day.

Schreiber wants the audience to believe that Celeste and her best friends, Ivy and Abby, really love one another. But they totally don't. There is no evidence of it; these girls are as catty as popular girls tend to be. She describes their lunch time conversation as "wonderfully inane," (28) complains that they will not do any of the things that she is interested in, like spending time outdoors, and hates their disdain of Westsiders (the kids from the poor side of town, of which Brandon is one). The fact that she really does not like her friends matters quite a bit, since she refuses to acknowledge Brandon publicly because she is afraid of losing their friendship...

After Brandon saves her life, she feels drawn to him, so attracted that she cannot resist his pull. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he's model gorgeous (are they ever not?). She talks to him only in private and never tells her friends that she likes him or hangs out with him. Even at the end of the novel when she is entirely convinced of her love for Brandon, she still thinks of him like this (in incomplete sentences): "But I wasn't going to commit to Nash. Even if it were the smart thing to do, even if it didn't make sense to love a guy who I couldn't see at night and couldn't be embraced in front of my friends by day" (180). There are a couple of glaring problems here: 1) In what world is it logical to date a guy you hate who also happens to be a dipwad? and 2)How can you consider yourself to be in true, everlasting love with a guy that you will snub to hang out with your friends who, again, you don't actually like?

Celeste, because of the above, is an entirely unlikeable narrator. She is also stupid, as she never sees even the most glaringly obvious things coming. And it does not help matters that her friends all think she is the most observant and intelligent person (standards are low in Legend's Run).

Schreiber's take on werewolves is also pretty awful. I gave her props at first for having werewolves that are actually werewolves and not shifters that become wolves. Props end there. When people change into Werewolves here, they apparently become a cross between Fabio and Robin Williams; in other words, they get long hair on their head, neat facial hair, thick chest hair and ripped muscles. Werewolves are not supposed to be hot; they are hairy, and not just in the places where Ellen Schreiber happens to find hairiness attractive.

Yuck, yuck, yuck. This book is poorly written and poorly plotted. It at least has the advantage of being short.

"They told me he was bad
But I knew he was sad
That's why I fell for (the leader of the pack)"

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