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The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group (TAWRG) by Australian author, Catherine Jinks was released by Quercus on 3rd February. The books is 352 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.
Toby Vandevelde wakes up one day in the hospital, having no recollection of how he got there or what happened the night before. Then he is told that he was found in the dingo pen at the local zoo and things just keep getting stranger and stranger by the minute.
A strange note is left for him on his pillow at the hospital but Toby has no idea who it is from or how they know who he is. Then, a strange man and a priest show up at his door and try to convince him that he is actually a werewolf, explaining why he cant remember what happened to him. There isn't such a thing as werewolves though...is there?? After hearing them out, Toby isn't so sure anymore and when he is abducted is broad daylight, he thinks there may be more truth to their story than he could ever have imagined.
What I thought
Last year, I read another of Catherine Jinks' books 'The Reformed Vampire Support Group' and instantly fell in love with her unique style. I was excited to read the newest of her books to see if she could pull off something amazing again without being too repetitive.
TAWRG was quite slow to start and I kept wondering when the story was going to pick up. That being said though, a lot does happen in the first couple of chapters but the writing has a more relaxed and laid back feel to it, making the pace seem slower than it actually is. Even though the start was slow, it gave me chance to get to know Toby, whose point of view the story is told from. A lot is explained in the first couple of chapters and they are really well detailed so it was like information overload for a little while but it was definitely needed.
Toby is supposed to be a thirteen year old but he came across to me as much older in some parts but younger in others. His character traits and mannerisms were really strange because they were so mixed. I was always in two minds with Toby as to whether or not I actually liked him. Sometimes he would be so stupid and give in way too easily to peer pressure that I wanted to slap him but then at other times, I thought he was really sensible and acted more mature than some of the other characters. I wish Toby has been more of a all round well written character who was consistent in his actions and decisions so that I could have made my mind up about him one way or another.
I really loved the inclusion of characters from the vampire book written in the same style, although you don't need to have read it to be able to follow this story. Even though this is the case, I liked having characters I could relate back to, knowing what they had been through before. Although some of the previous characters aren't in the book for an awful long time, they were a welcome addition for me and I would love to see them again if more books like this were written, seeing as they seem to be the base of these troubled creatures.
As for the slightly newer characters, I thought they were fabulous. Rueben and Danny in particular. Rueben is one of the more mature characters with a real sensible head on his shoulders and I liked that he balanced out the craziness of the teenagers. He was the rational thinker out of all of the characters and I was glad to see that at least someone was close to being sane. Danny on the other hand, I loved for other reasons. He is a complete menace that has no morals or responsibility at all. Danny is insane and everyone knows it, being so quick to go off the rails and act on whatever comes in to his head. I really enjoyed the fact that he messed things up quite a bit and shook up the whole story.
TAWRG was not the perfect book for me but it does have a lot going for it. It's fresh and different and definitely needed for the YA genre. Catherine Jinks breathes a new life into a creature that has been written about so many times already. TAWRG is hilarious at times but also has a lot of action and excitement. My only big problem with this book is the characterisation. I wanted many characters to have more depth and consistency but there was so much good about the book that I kept on reading anyway. If you want something different about werewolves then this is the book for you!