________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 9. . . .November 1, 2013


Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl.

Emily Pohl-Weary.
Toronto, ON: Razorbill/Penguin, 2012.
298 pp., hardcover, $18.99.
ISBN 978-0-670-06640-7.

Grades 7-12 / Ages 12-17.

Review by Laura Dunford.

**** /4



The deer was running again. Marlon jumped back and forth, like he was playing with it. Pierre rushed forward from behind and raked his claw down a hind leg.

That meat smelled so good. Blood filled my brain.

I charged, wanting to help my pack. I knew the Lebruns had deliberately set this up. They were letting me finish off the fawn – it would be my first conscious kill. And I was going to do it.


Set in present-day New York, Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl follows the story of 18-year-old Sam Lee, a shy and gifted rock star. When Sam is bitten by a large dog, she begins to change. Becoming increasingly hungry, irritable, confrontational and seriously overheated are just a few symptoms of her transition into the life of a werewolf. Luckily, she has Marlon Lebrun and his werewolf family ready to teach her how to be a wolf girl. Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl is a dark, but fun, fast-paced read that has crossover potential. Themes such as teen romance and friendship are central to this story, and, though there are scenes depicting underage drinking and moderate sexual activity, Pohl-Weary integrates these events as common issues that Sam deals with in a believable and mature fashion.

     Despite her unique rock star status, Sam is a relatable teen girl. She is an American-Chinese only child of a single mother. Her father left his family is order to return to China when Sam was a child, but she mentions this only in passing. Her mixed heritage has no impact on her interactions with others. She is shy and insecure, awkward at times and uncomfortable with the elevated status her fame has granted her.

     Her fame operates within this narrative in order to amplify the risks associated with her change into a werewolf and increase the difficulty of keeping her change secret, while simultaneously allowing her to exist independently from her mother – a plot strategy that allows her the freedom to develop her relationship with Marlon as he teaches her about being a werewolf.

     Overall, Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl is a fantastic read. However, one should note that there is some profanity and a few gory scenes which could be disturbing to sensitive readers.

Highly Recommended.

Laura Dunford is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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