By Awnali Mills
One of the new books that I picked up is This is Not a Werewolf Story by Sandra Evans. Naturally, I assumed that this WAS a werewolf story, because why even bring it up, right?
So…this is actually not a werewolf story.
I know, right? Go figure.
Raul’s mother has disappeared, and his father has abandoned him at a boarding school. He hardly ever speaks, but when he does, he is respected. He is the defender of the younger children, but he has no way of defending them against the PE teacher, Mr. Tuffman.
When the new kid, Vincent, arrives, he seeks out Raul as a best friend, even though he could have chosen anyone. Raul is flattered. He values this friendship, but hesitates to let Vincent in on his darkest secret: the woods surrounding the school are magical. Every weekend, when the dean thinks Raul’s father is picking him up, Raul is actually running away to experience the magic that helps him connect with his mother again. But now a dangerous cougar has been spotted in the woods. Is this cougar a foe, or could he actually be a friend? And will Raul figure out which before it’s too late?
Honestly, I was expecting a fairly simplistic werewolf story when I picked this book up. What I got was a story that has more twists and turns than an ouroborus. There are themes of friendship, family, and bullying. What do you do when the bully is an adult in authority? There were so many layers of things going on in this story. It was much deeper and more complex than I was expecting. It’s totally worth putting in the hands of anyone who feels like an outsider, or who enjoys a good adventure story, or magical reality. Perfect for grades 4-6.