Author: Catherine Jinks
Publication: Harcourt Children's Books (April 4, 2011)
Description: When Tobias Richard Vandevelde wakes up in a hospital with no memory of the night before, his horrified mother tells him that he was found unconscious. At Featherdale Wildlife Park.In a dingo pen.He assumes that his two best friends are somehow responsible, until the mysterious Reuben turns up, claiming that Toby has a rare and dangerous “condition.” Next thing he knows, Toby finds himself involved with a strange bunch of sickly insomniacs who seem convinced that he needs their help. It’s not until he’s kidnapped and imprisoned that he starts to believe them—and to understand what being a paranormal monster really means.
My Thoughts: This was a very different take on werewolves. Toby wakes up in a dingo pen and has no memory of how he got there. When he was first approached by Father Ramon Alvarez and Reuben Schneider and told he was a werewolf, his first reaction was disbelief and denial. He wallows in denial. His mother is convinced that he was doing drugs or something like that or that he has a medical condition like epilepsy. She is in even deeper denial than Toby.
But when he is kidnapped and taken to the same fighting complex that Reuben escaped from, he has to believe that he is a werewolf. Of course, he still has to convince his mother that not only is he a werewolf but that he is being helped, rescued and supported by vampires. That's a lot for one mother to believe.
At first I didn't care much for Toby. I thought he was a rather careless 13-year-old who was too easily led by his friend Fergus into doing thoughtless things. But I never doubted that he loved and respected his mother. As the story continued, Toby did mature and change. It took lots of very scary and dangerous activities to do it though.
I was also unhappy with Toby's mother. I think she carried her denial too far into the story. Her lack of trust in Toby was also a little grating. Her continual searching for a more rational explanation was probably very realistic though. And her love and support did work out in the end.
I think that this would appeal to adventure loving middle graders who want to read about a different kind of werewolf. Twilight fans wouldn't recognize these werewolves and vampires though.
"Any support you might need, whether practical or emotional--all you have to do is ask," Father Ramon continued. "Every one of us in this room has a special burden to carry, and we know that a shared burden is always much lighter."I read the eARC from NetGalley but you can buy it in print or for your Kindle at Amazon. This book follows The Reformed Vampire Support Group which I have not read and which apparently includes some of the character in this book.