Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review ♥ Interview: Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl by Emily Pohl Weary

Sometimes Living in the Big Apple Really Bites!

Eighteen-year-old rock star Sam Lee isn't like other girls. She's the super-talented bass player and songwriter for an all-girl indie band and an incurable loner. Then one night after a concert in Central Park, she's attacked by a wild dog. 

Suddenly, this long-time vegetarian is craving meat--the bloodier, the better. Sam finds herself with an unbelievable secret and no one she trusts to share it. And so begin the endless lies to cover up the hairy truth... 

When a new girl gang appears in the city--with claws and paws--Sam suspects there's a connection to her own inner beast. Trapped in a tug-of-war between her animal and human selves, forced to choose between the guy who sparked her carnal appetite and the one who makes her feel like a normal teenage girl, Sam has to unravel the mysteries of the werewolf world before her bandmates, her mother, and the media catch up to her.

Today, I am honoured to have Emily Pohl Weary stopping by my blog. Thank you Emily and Razorbill Canada! First, my review of the book.


Thank you Razorbill Canada for the ARC. All quotes from quoted were from the ARC.

I don't know why but my guilty pleasure in books is "books about celebrities, or musicians, or reality TV stars and their daily lives". For some reason, I just love those books, no matter how unrealistic they are. :3 Heehee. This is why I didn't hate this book., in fact I quite enjoyed it. Weird, I know.

First I want to get something off my chest. You know one thing that just puts me off of werewolf/vampire books? The whole "transforming process". I've read enough books about werewolves and vampires that I know every single "transforming process" sounds the same. For vampires you get super thirsty for blood; you can hear people's blood pumping through their veins etc etc. For werewolves it is more "gross" with the sweat, need to eat raw meat etc. This is why I normally don't pick up a werewolf or vampire books. I've already read enough that I know 20-30% of the book because that percentage is about the main protagonist's transforming process. I think Emily used about 7% (or probably less) of the book reminding us that Sam had weird cravings and other stuff. And the writing was not bad for those parts of the book. It was just that it was a bit predictable that I became a little boring. But I'm glad that I wasn't constantly bombarding with Sam's changes. I would've gone crazy if it did.

Also the plot of this book moved fast. It was written in an enjoyable pace, with enough details and events that build the setting and characters. I liked how the this book included a girl gang, super unique. Badass werewolf girl gang?! That's freaking cool!! I think I really enjoyed the plot of this book. It didn't drag on with boring stuff. Events happened and I felt they were all necessary. I think this was why I liked this book even with its flaws.

(Mini spoiler alert?) Kind of relating to the plot-ish? As for the werewolf family that helped Sam, they were rich, smart, famous. They lived in a giant property that's apparently 16 acres! I felt a little of the Twilight atmosphere while I was learning about the family. Pierre, the father, was an academic, which reminded me of Car...what is Edward's dad named again? Francoise, the mother, reminded me of a cross between Edward's mom and Alice, fun, loving, and very excited. But Owen was different, he was an effin' jerk! Rude comments, after rude comments! I really want to punch him! And I'm pretty sure he was your psycho type of guy (creepy grin and everything...I mean I guess that can be hot in some weird way). He sure made the plot interesting. Also I liked setting for the family, it was almost "royal" and high class. A lot of vampire books depict this but never really werewolf books. Werewolves were always depicted dirty, dark, and gross settings. I like how the werewolves were depicted as high-class here.

Now onto the characters. For a quiet girl, Sam sure didn't act like it. Maybe it was just me but I thought she would be more awkward. I mean if I was told by Marlon that "it has been a long time since I brought a girl home" (pg 126), I would just be awkward and wouldn't know what to say. I probably be like a mute for the rest of the time as I met Marlon's family. I don't know, maybe that's just me. Also she did stupid stuff that made me eye roll, for example, she biked so fast and for so long that she couldn't stand or walk. Wow genius, didn't you think that it was getting late in the day and oops, nightfall? I just felt like she would've been pretty cool if her story stayed with the band and musician stuff. I don't know. Maybe because I would allow more mistakes from celebrities? That's unfair but this makes me think. Do we all (somewhat in our deepest corner of our heart), forgive famous people because we assume they are poisoned by the glam life of Hollywood? I mean at least that's what I feel when I read YA novels such as Lauren Conrad's books (no I'm not talking about giving her a good rating because she's a celeb, I am talking about the content of her book). Lauren's book depicts Hollywood life and I feel like I was more open-minded to stupid acts done by the main characters because I automatically imagine that's all the stupid things Hollywood people do. And us normal people would never be so dumb, right? I guess I watch too much gossip shows or reality TV?

Okay, enough about Sam, time to move on. I really liked Sam's mom. For a celebrity's mom, she's kind, normal and awesome! Sometimes she made me laugh just because! She was just that lovable! She just added some spice into the book. Sam's bandmates, Jules, and Malika had personalities! Jules were kind of your band leader who was dominate and almost "bitchy". Malika was the one that tried to compromise everything. It was fun reading about them. I guess they were a part of the reason why I wished this book stayed in the "music" part of the story.

Marlon was your gentle type. He was understandable, nice, quiet. He really wanted to help Sam. I don't know what to say about him. He was just nice? XD And I kind of fangirled over him? I like my guys caring, okay? (Before my anime friends want to add in...yes I am thinking about Makoto.) Marlon wasn't pushy. I just felt at ease with him. He was the type of person that would aid you no matter what. Treat you right and deal with your tantrums. /sigh

I think there was one thing that I hated. It was a short bit of the book (thank god) and.......UGH! I hated the "romance" in the very beginning with Harris. The way Sam described Harris, ugh ew no. It felt like a 12 year old's diary. Like can you not? "Once we were alone, he clasped my elbow and pulled me into a hug. His hands slid beneath my shirt to the bare skin of my lower back." (Pg 52) But as I read on the romance (...or should I say relationship?) got better (partially because of nice ^^). The romance wasn't gross stuff like what I quoted, it was just a building of friendship, and trust. It was slow and not forced. I really liked that! Yay redemption!

Overall this book wasn't perfect but I enjoyed it.

Oh one random thing. I found this weird. Is this some sort of fashion sense that I don't know about? Enlighten me please? "He also had on a green and purple T-shirt and black high-tops with lavender laces." (Pg 54) LACE? REAALLYY???

Interview with Emily Pohl Weary

Life Outside of Writing (What's life like without the whole "author" part, any hobbies? Secret interests? Etc)
I have an incredibly busy life—hence my many late-night writing jags (when I’m working on something, I try not to fall asleep until I’ve reached my daily quota). In my other life, I’m the executive director of a community arts center called the Academy of the Impossible, run a small non-profit called Impossible Arts, and facilitate a free weekly writing group for inner-city youth. It’s a good life, if a little crazed. I’ve managed to turn any hobbies I have into my career. Like writing!

Journey in publishing comics vs Journey in publishing books
My first publishing experiences were actually on my own zines—hand-decorated, staple-bound books of my writing that I laid out in the computer lab at school or at home on my computer. In 2000, I went on to collaborate with my good friend Paola Poletto on a small literary magazine, called Kiss Machine. I learned so much about the industry from editing, publishing, promoting, and distributing that for eight years. And during those same years, I also worked with professional presses on books in just about every genre imaginable (novels, poetry, biography. anthologies). You asked specifically about comics. Willow Dawson and I created a four-issue comic called Violet Miranda: Girl Pirate—working as the writer with an artist is a whole other experience. I’d say 85% of the work on a graphic novel falls on the illustrator, but the writer comes up with the story/characters, etc. So it’s a funny, unequal, fascinating relationship.  I’ve also acquired content for high school textbooks and written a few film and television scripts. Basically, I love to write, and follow the passion...

Research Behind this Novel (What did you learn? Any interesting stories? Etc)
For me, research involves wandering around the neighborhoods my character frequents, which in this case means New York’s Lower-East Side and Brooklyn (which I absolutely love). I talk to people who live there, smell things (eww!), listen to the sounds, and poke around places I’m not supposed to go. Hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe my research process is to make like a fish and swim in my book’s ocean. Really immerse myself. I listen to a soundtrack that gets me into the right headspace for writing. I read a ton—on average three novels a week, though I try to avoid anything too similar while I’m writing a book—and watch teen movies/TV shows to analyze plot twists and dialogue and get fashion ideas.

One of the favorite discoveries I made while working on this novel was the community gardens in Manhattan’s Alphabet City. They’re pure magic in the summer! I spent a couple days sitting in them, enjoying the nature, and the way everyone seemed to pitch in to maintain them... Until the mosquitos started eating me alive and I had to run away.

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