Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl: fast YA novel with wonderful characters

Emily Pohl-Weary's Not Your Ordinary Wolf-Girl is an absolutely fabulous new young adult novel about a painfully shy rock-star who gets bitten by a werewolf. Sam Lee is 18 years old and not entirely comfortable with the stellar trajectory of the Cream Puffs, the power-trio she founded in art school, only to be "discovered" by a manager who turned them into an overnight sensation. Although Sam writes the songs, she's happy to leave the spotlight to her two bandmates, and retreat to the shadows and nurse her crippling shyness.

But within a chapter, things have changed: Sam's been bitten by a "wild dog" while riding her bike home through Central Park after a gig, and everything is different. She's hot all the time, sweating, and her veganism goes by the wayside as she's filled with an unstoppable urge to gobble huge quantities of animal flesh. Rage begins to simmer just below the surface, and breaks through with alarming regularity.

That's the setup, and Pohl-Weary handles it beautifully. The story is fast and superbly told, and the characters are fantastically likable and believable. Wolf Girl is a YA werewolf novel that's not afraid to show us the sex and violence of the wolf-story, not afraid of ratcheting up the tension and the fear, but still firmly age-appropriate.

Though this is Pohl-Weary's first YA novel, it's not her writing debut. The granddaughter of Judith Merril and Frederick Pohl, Pohl-Weary has already won a Hugo award for the memoir she co-wrote with her grandmother, and also won acclaim for her debut novel as well as other books she's co-written or edited.

Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl