Sunday, April 26, 2009

Girls That Growl by Mari Mancusi

First published in 2007.

I'm a vampire. I'm also a vampire slayer. (It's a long story - don't ask.) And now I, Rayne McDonald, Goth girl, have to try out for THE CHEERLEADING SQUAD?

You'd think after I saved my coven last semester, I'd get a break or something. I've got e
nough on my plate: My twin keeps whining about whether or not to go all the way; Mom's boyfriend is moving in; and my man, Jareth, who's now allowed out in the sun, has turned from a dark, brooding hottie vamp into a surfer dude . . .

But I'm still on the clock and have a new assignment. A member of the football team has disappeared - and my bosses at Slayer Inc. think the cheerleaders had something to do with it, because they're actually werewolves! I always knew they were a pack of bitc . . .

Now they want me to infiltrate the squad and get the dirt. But first, I'll need an extreme prep makeover. If only they'd let me wear fishnets
under this revolting uniform . . .

Heads and tails (har har) better than Boys That Bite. Rayne isn't anywhere near as insufferable as Sunny was and holy crap! She's smart and deep! Yay for substance! Aside from the fact that she could be a downright bitch for no reason other than to keep up her Goth girl image, there's no doubt you get to see her morph into a better person throughout the course of the book. There's more going on in her head than going to prom with some jock guy and she's torn between more than extremely superficial aspects of her life (like what to wear and woah is me).

I did think there were a couple of departures from her character, though. Like the brand whoring that still existed, especially at the beginning of the book. What would someone like Rayne care about a Juicy tracksuit or an Armani suit? It just seemed to go against her as a person. But I like how the parallels were made between Mandy's elitism and Rayne's, and she had no idea it was even there. But once it was pointed out, it was obvious that Rayne very much stood by the notion that Goth was cool and everything else was crap, just the opposite of the people she shit on (and shit on her). I very much liked that message because you don't have to have a cashmere sweater tied around your shoulders to be elitist.

There was one chapter towards the end that definitely got a little wishy-washy and everyone was hugging and seemed like they were going to break out into a round of Kumbaya at any moment. I thought that was a little much but thankfully it wasn't the last chapter so it was a fleeting moment, I guess.

I was never really one for reading werewolf novels. I don't know. They just never interested me but I liked this one. The fact that the cheerleaders would go out and "party" and wake up the next morning and not be able to remember anything. It was a perfect cover even though they had no idea what was happening to them. Great excuse. And I love the antidote! Ha!

Rayne's constant reiteration of her gimp vampire status and Jareth being her blood mate were a little wearing, though. I got it after the first fifteen times that she was a vampire with a limp that was tied to this other limpy vampire. I really wish the matter wasn't pressed so hard and I wonder if anyone would actually think of those aspects that much.

I liked her relationship with Cait as well. Mancusi introduces a disorder into her story that I'm sure affects many, many teens but in the context of the book, I'm not sure how well it worked out. I couldn't help but think it was a little contrived. Was it in there just to be in there? Would someone in Cait's situation actually be doing that? Considering everything else going on, to introduce something like that didn't seem . . . appropriate, I guess. I mean, was it necessary? But despite that, Rayne's sticking by her side instead of calling her a freak and running away says something about Rayne. Her pushing Cait to get help says even more. Their friendship was probably my favorite relationship in the entire book

So yeah, skip Boys That Bite. It's as airy as cotton candy and just as filling. If you want a book that has a first person main character with depth, turmoil and more on her mind than labels and guys, you'll want to read this one. I guess it shows the stark differences between the twins but I just hope to god that Stake That! doesn't revert back to Sunny's POV. I might have to cry.

6 comments:

Jen said...

Aw, sounds alright, Rayne seems a bit mean though ^_^

cupcakewitch said...

please tell me she stays goth at the end! i hate it when people change their subculture at the end of books!

Donna said...

Well has an attitude shift and she definitely de-bitches which is a good thing but she's still pretty Raynie at the end.

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, Stake That is actually the second book in the series. (Between Boys that Bite and Girls that Growl.) It is from Rayne's point of view though.

Stormy said...

I was pretty sure I could make a TvTropes drinking game from the blurb, but I'm glad that it seems to be more than the sum of its parts. I might push it at my cousin, she's looking for new stuff to read at the moment.

One thing though...woah is me, not sure it was intentional, that's like Neo "woah" not the pouty kind of woe...But if it was intentional, that's kind of awesome, a character that's constantly amazed by themselves. :P

Donna said...

Anon, yeah, I'm realizing that now. Dur on me!

Stormy, yeah, I caught all that too. And no, the woah wasn't intentional! I was having a brain fart (I seem to have a lot of those) and couldn't remember how to spell woe. Eek!

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