Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

From the Publisher:

Publishers Weekly
Sixteen-year-old Vivian isn’t fiction’s most likable heroine, and not only because she’s a werewolf. She’s preoccupied with admiring her own “full breasts, small waist [and] tawny hair.” She’s viciously competitive with other girls, gloating, “Look at me…. I’ve got him. You don’t. Too bad.” Her pack, temporary leaderless and dislocated after the death of her father, is living in some low-rent Maryland suburbs. Expected to mate with one of the rowdy, blood-hungry werewolves her own age, Vivian rejects them as well as 24-year-old Gabriel, who flirts with her aggressively as he prepares to assume leadership of the pack. Instead, she nourishes a crush on a “meat boy” (human) from school, a retro-hippie poet-type who professes a yen for the supernatural. With the darkly sexy prose and suspenseful storytelling that gave such luster to The Silver Kiss, Klause lures readers into the politics of the pack, their forbidden desire for human flesh and the coming of age of their future queen. Though some readers may be alienated by Vivian’s self-absorption, and others shocked by her eventual union with Gabriel, most will find this sometimes bloody tale as addictive as chocolate. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)
When a 16-year-old werewolf falls in love with a human, she begins to live uncomfortably between two worlds. Klause propels her bloodthirsty tale with “darkly sexy prose and suspenseful storytelling,” said PW. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

My Comments:

My daughter loves fantasy books and vampires and werewolves in particular. On a trip to Barnes and Noble, she excitedly bought this book. Well I decided to go ahead and read it for myself beforehand. I’m really glad I did. It was pretty sexually charged and my daughter is uncomfortable with a lot of that in her reading material. The main character wasn’t anyone I would want my daughter to be around. At 16 years old, Vivian was arrogant, vain and sexually permissive, would drink, claim she smoked pot as an excuse for lying about why she was grounded. Vivian would continually try to get in a situation where she could have sex with her boyfriend. She had a very clear idea that she could exude power through sex and would tease older men at the bar where her mother worked and even teased her boyfriends father. She ends up in the role of Queen of the pack to a 24 year old King with all that entails. At 16, reading about having sex with a 24 year old is out of hand. Vivian thinks she killed someone, but chooses to keep this to herself and try to figure out who she killed. Morals are thin if they exist at all.

The good aspects of Vivian’s character just weren’t enough to equal out all the other behaviors. She was loyal to her mother, even though her relationship with her was usually strained. She could be loyal to her pack (but usually just when it suited her) and tried to be loyal to her code of the Moon.

As a Mom I get really torn with decisions like this. This book was really well written. A lot of kids her age seem to really love it according to book reviews on Amazon. It won a lot of awards. It was chosen for the Junior Literary Guild selection, which we’re members of, so we get the selected books for her age group. So on that hand, I was tempted to let her read it.

On the other hand, the main character in this book isn’t someone I would want to come to my house. She’s not someone I would want my daughter to be friends with. She emulates behavior that isn’t acceptable for us. Books are friends. And this isn’t a good friend for my daughter.

I worry about all the kids her age that read this book and think Vivian is wonderful! I read the reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and these girls think Vivian is fantastic because she’s so powerful! She can get away with anything. She can party. She can have sex. She can be a Wolf Queen and live with no consequences. Kids in reviews say they love this book because it’s about cliques in school and all kids have to deal with that. Um. No. School is mentioned when she meets her boyfriend and she does have to deal with his friends later on, but I wouldn’t say this book is a great relationship tool for helping your kids deal with social issues.

If I wasn’t reading this book with my daughter in mind, I could have enjoyed it more. But I find it disturbing to read about a 16 year old and her permiscuity not only with boys her own age, but men much older. I hate to focus on that, but the book does, so I have to. Not all kids in this age group are ready for books with this subject matter. Mine is embarassed to read about it, and was glad I let her know before she cracked the cover.

Keep It Or Pass It On?
Totally passing this one on.

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