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Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

December 6, 2010

December 28, 2010

Publishers: Katherine Tegen Books

Publication Date: December 28, 2010

Format: Galley on Adobe Digital Editions

Status: Once in a Full Moon is the first in Schreiber’s new series about werewolves.

Source: NetGalley

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Location: Legend’s Run (I assume, a fictional town somewhere in the US)

Other Info: Schreiber is also the author of the successful Vampire Kisses series.

Description (from the author’s website):

Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves -Legend’s Run is famous for them. She’s used to everything in the small town until Brandon Maddox moves to Legend’s Run and Celeste finds herself immediately drawn to the handsome new student.
But when, after an unnerving visit with a psychic, she encounters a pack of wolves and gorgeous, enigmatic Brandon, she must discover whether his transformation is more than legend or just a trick of the shadows in the moonlight.

Her best friends may never forgive her if she gives up her perfect boyfriend, Nash, for Brandon, who’s from the wrong side of town. But she can’t deny her attraction or the strong pull he has on her. Brandon may be Celeste’s hero, or he may be the most dangerous creature she could encounter in the woods of Legend’s Run.

Psychic predictions, generations-old secrets, a town divided, and the possibility of falling in love with a hot and heroic werewolf are the perfect formula for what happens . . . once in a full moon.

I had high hopes for this book. I mean, a new YA werewolf series? By an author who already has a pretty big following? I hoped wrong. And I’m going to have to tread lightly here, because there wasn’t much for me to like in Once in a Full Moon and I just talked about not author-bashing in a previous post.

Let’s start with the writing. It’s a lot of tell and no show. We’re told a lot of things about the heroine, Celeste, and Celeste’s friends, and Celeste’s boyfriends, the town of Legend’s Run and the hot new guy, Brandon. By the time I got to the part where I started reading sentences like, “Another attribute that my friends shared was accusing me of being too nice because I was cordial to everyone”, I began to realize that I was doomed. There’s also the stilted dialog which is often lacking in contractions. This is a pet peeve of mine. I mean, people do not talk the way they write. They’re constantly doing blasphemous things to the English language. I like to see a nice balance between formal language and something that’s readable. If the dialog is too formal I can’t picture actual people saying the words. If it’s too slang-y and missing too many consonants (see dialog written in dialect. Heh.) then I become irritated.

Okay, sorry, that was a diatribe I didn’t mean to go off on. So, the writing: not great. But what really disappointed me was everything else. The main character, Celeste, is a cardboard cutout of the good girl that runs with the popular crowd. For some reason, she’s accepted by all the rich, born-on-the-right-side-of-the-tracks kids at her high school. Her boyfriend is a good-looking, popular jock. Her friends are steadfast and loyal. She’s “nice”, meaning she sticks up for the poor unfortunates who are born in the Hicksville east side of Legend’s Run. The blue collar side. And, seriously, I’m not joking: she volunteers at a senior center. She is, in essence, a Mary Sue.

Or she would be, if she didn’t have issues. Like being friends with the kind of “mean girls” who exclude people not of their own socio-economic background. I mean, seriously, her friends suck. They’re rude to everyone. They tell Celeste that she’s too nice and then encourage her to forgive her boyfriend when she finds him flirting with another girl. They make Celeste worse just because she wanted to be friends with them.

Then there’s Celeste’s boyfriend, Nash. Also a jerk. Basically ignores Celeste and only cares about sports. He likes Celeste because she’s “different”. She’s the one girl he can’t get just by crooking his finger. Can you see me rolling my eyes? I honestly could not figure out why Nash was supposed to be so popular. Maybe you can tell me. Luckily, Nash isn’t the hero in this book. No, that’s the aforementioned new guy in town: Brandon.

Brandon is hot, but he’s from the wrong side of town. No, seriously. He’s, like, hawt. What I couldn’t figure out was, if he’s so hot, isn’t it pretty unlikely that Celeste would be the only girl who didn’t care what part of town he was from? Apparently, no. He’s reviled. Even though he’s a hero. What, you didn’t know that? Well, Celeste will tell you a few thousand times, just so you get the point. He’s sexy, heroic and thoughtful. Everything Nash is not, apparently. Which is fine. I mean, I’ll buy the story of a girl who is with Guy A, who doesn’t appreciate her or treat her right and she doesn’t realize it until Guy B comes into the picture. The problem is the thing that’s keeping Celeste with Nash isn’t the way he’s treating her. It’s worry over what her friends and family will think if they find out she’s dating an Eastsider like Brandon. So Celeste stays with Nash despite her feelings for another guy. At least, until she finds him flirting with someone else.

All in all, I don’t feel that I can recommend this book. It didn’t just disappoint me, it frustrated me. When the penultimate werewolf scene finally happens, I actually laughed out loud. I’m only sad that I couldn’t laugh at the rest of it.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 18, 2010 9:42 am

    I just finished this and I’m completely torn. I really, really disliked it, but I don’t like to not review something that I’ve finished. I’m just not sure that I’m going to be able to keep from ranting about how awful it was. The only thing that kept me going was that I thought maybe the psychic was his mother, also a werewolf (to explain the other sightings), who was out of control and looking for him. When it turned out to be you-know-who, I was done with the book. I read some of the other reviews on GR and couldn’t believe all of the postive ones. I saw your and thought, FINALLY! I must go comment! Thanks for the honesty.

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