Weregirl is an interesting book. I was first drawn to it by the premise and the fact that it's set in Michigan, and the nice cover didn't hurt either. I was also intrigued by the fact that the publisher is Chooseco- the company that publishes the Choose Your Own Adventure stories. The path to publication for this is somewhat unique in that the author is C.D. Bell, but the idea for the book was formed by a writers room of sorts at Chooseco, and then she was brought in to do the actual writing. It's an interesting way to do things, and I'm curious if there will be a sequel or if other YA books will be forthcoming.
The story itself is about Nessa Kurland, a junior at a high school somewhere in north central Michigan who is bitten by a wolf while out running. It's not just any wolf however, and Nessa soon finds herself transforming into a werewolf. Nessa is on the cross country team and wants nothing more than to escape her devastated small town, and feels that running and a scholarship are her way out. The town itself is a fictional one, although various real Michigan towns are name dropped and the author seems somewhat familiar with Michigan.
Nessa's life and cross country aspirations are complicated by her werewolf activity but at the same time her senses are enhanced and her running improves dramatically even when in human form. Looks like she just might get out of town after all- that is, if she can survive. As she races through the woods at night she encounters other wolves, including some very aggressive ones who attack her, and a mysterious gray wolf who helps her. Yes of course there is a romance here, we can't have shifters without romance! And not only that but there is a mysterious corporation involved as well, a global company with their hands in all kinds of industries- and they pretty much sponsor everything in town after taking over the bankrupt Dutch Chemical company that poisoned the town.
This element also interested me since Dow Chemical is headquartered in mid Michigan and has been linked to contamination in water as well as class action lawsuits over cancer. It's well known in Michigan and Dow has settled lawsuits so I couldn't help wondering if Dutch Chem was a veiled reference to Dow. At any rate there is a similar premise going on here, taken to a different level of course, and that added a significant level of tension to the book. The story itself is fine, it's a YA book and I think the target audience is pretty clearly teen girls - YA is such a broad canvas and I would say this one skews more towards the younger part of the spectrum.
I liked Nessa, and could relate. Northern and central Michigan has all kinds of small towns that kids can't wait to get away from, so that's plausible. Her friend Bree had a fun personality and the two guys in the story- Cassian and Luc- are different enough even if not exactly breaking new ground. I think the book is written well but I did find myself skimming- not because the book isn't good, but just because again I'm not the target audience, so as curious as I was about the lycanthrope elements and the home state angle, I was trying to speed through it a bit too. I think this is good read if the premise appeals to you and you like a conventional YA/ urban fantasy mashup.