Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blood and Chocolate

"I do believe they have a beast within. In some it's buried so deep they'll never feel it; in others it stirs, and if a person can't give it a safe voice it warps and rots and breaks out in evil ways. They may not be able to change, but they still can be the beast of their own nightmares. It's our blessing that we can exorcise those demons. Sometimes it's our curse."

Title: Blood and Chocolate

Author: Annette Curtis Klause

ISBN: 0-385-32305-0

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Copyright: 1997

Plot Summary: Blood and Chocolate begins with Vivian Gandillon and her mother Esme as they adjust to their new life in the suburbs of Maryland. Not only new to the town, Vivian has to deal with the amazing change that all loups-garoux deal with, the Change between her human form and her wolf form, for the Gandillons are werewolves. The pack previously lived in New Orleans but were uprooted after Vivian's yearmate killed a human and the pack were torched from their home. Vivian's father died in the fire, causing yet another uproar in the pack hierarchy as the males vie for the position. Vivian herself only wants to avoid pack violence and live in the manner she choses, without having to chose a mate from her yearmates, the uncontrollable Five. She dabbles in art and when one of her drawings is shown in the school magazine, she is ecstatic, even more so when she reads the poem accompanying it. Tracking down the poet, Vivian is instantly attracted to the meat-boy who wrote hauntingly of her experience as a loups-garoux and sets her mind on seducing him.

Critical Evaluation: Blood and Chocolate is a refreshingly dark supernatural romance that does not ridicule its characters and instead makes the idea of werewolves its own by creating a culture. Vivian is a strong female lead character who does not shy from her own strengths and wants to share every part of herself with her love interest Aiden. She also does not want her mate chosen for her nor her own freedoms limited by those who the pack accept or not. The interaction between members of the werewolf pack is written in a way that reminds readers of wolves rather than humans in wolfskins, which may or may not please readers. Descriptions of loups-garoux snarling or swishing their hips as if wagging a tail were often overdone unless the reader imagines humans melded to wolves, inheriting some of their behavior, rather than a caricature of a werewolf as a human with dog habits. The dialog within the book is also well done and realistically blunt, especially in the portions in which the teens banter back and forth. The relationships between characters are also realistic and develop naturally.

Reader's Annotation: Vivian is a loups-garoux, a werewolf whose pack was pulled up from their original home. Still unsettled by the changes occurring to her pack and her year-mates, Vivian suddenly and shockingly becomes attracted to a human male, a meat-boy.

Information About the Author: Annette Curtis Klause was born in England but now lives in Maryland with her husband and their cats. Klause, along with being an author, is a librarian and currently works as a material's selector for the children's collection for the Montgomery County Public Libraries.
Klause has published four novels targeted toward teens. Her first novel was The Silver Kiss which, like Blood and Chocolate, added a twist to the supernatural horror genre.

Genre: Fantasy; Romance; Werewolves; Supernatural

Curriculum Ties N/A

Booktalking Ideas:
  • Vivian is a gorgeous loups-garoux, a werewolf, coming into her prime and adjusting to a new life in a new town after her pack being burned out of their last home. Her five year-mates, The Five, all clamor for her attention, but she is attracted to a human boy, a meat-boy, who the pack view as prey. Vivian struggles with her wolf side while adjusting to the differences between loups-garoux romance and human romance.
Reading Level: 16+

Challenge Issues:
  • The amount of violence within the book is written in a dark manner and while adult readers may view it as inappropriate for teens, the violence is not glorified and the narrator Vivian is equally as horrified by the violence within herself and her pack.
Why This Book?: YALSA Award for Best Books for Young Adults (1998)

Reference Page:
Klause, A. C. (1997). Blood and Chocolate. New York: Delacorte Press.

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