C. D. Bell's WEREGIRL is a fast-paced teen thriller set in Tether, Michigan, a town on the brink of shutdown since it was stripped of its resources by corporate polluter Dutch Chemical. High school junior Nessa Kurland is a cross-country runner with her eyes set on one thing: a college scholarship as her one-way ticket out of Tether. Talented teammate Cynthia Sinise invites Nessa on a nighttime run through Tether's overgrown forest trails. But she speeds ahead, leaving Nessa alone to discover a trapped wolf. Nessa tries to free the animal but is badly bitten, seemingly ruining her hopes for a strong fall season with the cross-country team. Instead, Nessa's freakishly quick recovery is followed by improved running times. All her senses are heightened. Nessa has transformed. She has become a werewolf. In her new state, Nessa learns there are things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. Why does a Nobel Laureate work at the small-town medical clinic? Are top college athletic scouts really interested in her emerging talent? Can she trust Chayton, the motorcycle-riding guide her friends have faith in? WEREGIRL's Nessa must navigate her junior year and true human darkness, while making peace with her new, wild nature.
While I ultimately enjoyed Nessa’s story, I couldn't help but wonder when it was going to start. There seemed to be a ton of filler story and too much “telling” with very little “showing” at certain points that slowed the overall pacing of the book.
With about a hundred pages left, it finally struck me that Weregirl is more of a mystery than a shifter story. I kept expecting the story to develop around the concept of how she became a werewolf and that Nessa would ultimately meet others like her. But that didn’t happen. The mystery surrounding the company, Dutch Chem took more precedence than I anticipated, while Nessa’s Were-ness took a backseat. For a book with a Werewolf on the cover, I would expect it would be the other way around.
Certain aspects of the story never really came to fruition. Nessa was bitten by a wolf, but never questioned how or why that transformed her into a werewolf. The reader is left to assume that the shenanigans going on with the Dutch Chem people somehow led to her altered state.
Overall, Weregirl is a great mystery. One—had I been sufficiently prepared for—I probably would have enjoyed more. (The book blurb does focus on the mystery, but the cover is misleading). The writing is good, but it leaves the impression that this book was written very quickly and developmental editing was done quickly. The result is a good 400 page book, rather than an excellent 250 page book.
The character development is very well done. Nessa, her family and friends are well rounded, each with their own interesting stories. The author did an excellent job illustrating Nessa’s growth into a more confident young woman, sure to inspire young readers. As a first in series, I look forward to the next book to see how Nessa’s story continues to unfold.
I would recommend Weregirl to younger teens and tweens, ages 12 to 15.
Nessa is a teenager who lives for cross country races. She is trying to improve her running when she gets bitten by a wolf and slowly transforms into a werewolf. She learns that she was chosen to solve the mystery around the studies being done on the children and Billy. It's a fantastic mystery that easily carries the plotline and makes werewolves seem like the lesser story. I was reading to the end just to learn more about that!
The werewolf plotline seems pretty typical and it has the usual transformation type events (healing and speed/increased athleticism). It worked along with the main mystery, and I am curious to see if there will be sequels/how the plot will evolve. Nessa's teenage life, including romance, takes a backseat. This (romance) is somewhat predictable (I mean, a guy named Luc with all this mystery? It seemed a little obvious to me), but I liked it anyway!
All-in-all it's a captivating mystery with a supernatural flare, and I really enjoyed reading it. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.