Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Nightshade by Andrea CremerNightshade by Andrea Cremer
Also by this author: The Inventor's Secret
Series: Nightshade #1
Published by Penguin on 2010-10-19
Genres: Animals, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Wolves & Coyotes, Young Adult
Pages: 496
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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five-stars

Calla is the alpha female of a shape-shifting wolf pack. She is destined to marry Ren Laroche, the pack's alpha male. Together, they would rule their pack together, guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But then, Calla saves a beautiful human boy, who captures her heart. Calla begins to question everything - her fate, her existence, and her world and the orders the Keepers have asked her to follow. She will have to make a choice. But will she follow her heart if it means losing everything, including her own life?

I am so pissed. PISSED I didn’t read Nightshade by Andrea Cremer as soon as I got my hands on it at BEA. As far as paranormal YA goes, this is right up there with Vampire Academy for me, which FYI is my top YA PNR series. You know how many of us point how sexist a lot of PNR YA is? Well, this book turns these ideas on it’s head. Calla, teen girl and alpha wolf of the Nightshade pack, is about to be married to her betrothed, Ren LaRoche, alpha of the Bane pack, as ordained by a group called The Keepers whom the Guardians (the wolves) are sworn to work for and protect. Of course, this is an obviously patriarchal society, where the male leader is deferred to, just because it’s tradition. Calla does not begin to challenge this structure until she meets Shay Doran, a mysterious new boy who calls things as he sees them.

This book is the antidote. I am torn between hugging it to my chest and pressing it urgently into your hands. The first thing that is awesome about Nightshade is that it recognizes that teen girls are not puritans. SHOCKER they think about sex too! I’m not exactly sure who started the rumor that girls don’t have hormones, or the only girls who like sex are sluts, BUT it’s false. I love that Calla is shown as having racy thoughts, and we see it as normal. As the reader, I wanted her to act on those thoughts. I never thought she was a slut for having hormones. Thank you Ms. Cremer, for dispelling these awful rumors with Nightshade.

Furthermore, the thing I love the most about Nightshade is that it calls out sexism. The reader is shown what a healthy relationship looks like. We see an actual relationship based on equality. BE STILL MY BEATING HEART. Also, double standards are addressed. You see, Ren can go around having sex and kissing other girls before his ‘union’ with Calla. However, Calla must keep herself pure. As the reader, you see the unfairness of this, and feel some fury at a society which propagates the whole boys will be boys notion. And perhaps you may see this paralleled in your high school hallway, or in real life. I know I’ve seen it, constantly. AND I LOVE HOW IT GETS CALLED OUT. YES PLEASE MORE YA LIKE THIS.

We also see how in a good relationship, you aren’t always deferring to your partner on everything. Calla is shown as being visibly uncomfortable when people defer to Ren over her. I like that. I like that she isn’t all, isn’t that sexy, he’s being a protector and macho. No way. Plus plus plus plus there is the portrayal of the idea that women are not property, that statements like ‘you belong to me’ reduces a woman to chattel. This is beautifully illustrated when Shay tells Calla ‘you belong to you.’ Seriously, all my deal-makers are hit.

I devoured this book in what amounts to a day. With excellent characterization and deeper issues to ponder, wrapped in the trappings of a paranormal romance, Cremer is on my list of authors to watch.

Other Reviews:

i swim for oceans
Makeshift Bookmark
The Bibliophilic Book Blog
Book Rat Misty
Hobbitsies

five-stars
About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. Ahh this will be the next book I pick up! I’ve read a few really great reviews about this one and I’m hoping it doesn’t disappoint. I LOVE that this book shows teen girls realistically. Girls shouldn’t be made to feel bad for thinking about sex!

  2. This is my new favorite review of NIGHTSHADE. I agree with you about the sex–I love that it was okay that Calla had real desires. I’m so glad you liked it!

  3. I love reading about you getting so excited over this book. It makes me really want to read it! And I totally agree with everything you said about female YA characters.

  4. This sounds great! I love the cover, which is originally why I decided I wanted to read this book, and I’ve heard good things about it, but your review makes me doubly excited to read it! All the things you mentioned sound like great points, and I’m definitely going to bump this up my- Need to get a copy NOW list. 🙂

  5. Great review! I found myself loving your tone and voice throughout the review and paying more attention to that than your actual, oh I don’t know, review! 🙂 Definitely will be adding it to my list.

    PS I don’t think I’ve ever read a review that started the way this one did.

  6. I loved reading this book, such an awesome set up for a story and an awesome world built around it. I also really liked the messages about sexuality and feminism and double standards, that was really well done throughout, I totally agree! I’m going to keep this vague, but the only part that bugged me was when they stopped to get their horny on while fleeing for their lives, far from safety yet and in mortal peril. I just wanted to scream at them to get their hands off of each other and RUN! Seemed a little unreal to me.

  7. man, now I’M pissed…because I want to be all “yeah ditto! go Nightshade!”

    …but I didn’t really like it that much. Weird since we often agree! I think the main issue for me is that I should avoid love triangles for awhile, because they’ve started getting on my nerves to the point that I can’t even read them anymore without rolling my eyes at the DRAMAAAA.

    I’m glad you liked it though, hope you get your hands on an ARC for the next one soon!

  8. I’ve heard some fantastic opinions of this book, yours being the latest, and everyone picks up on the same goodness that takes it away from most YA at the moment. For me it’s now just a case of finding it in the bookshop…

  9. I think I’ve read mixed reviews of this, but I love the sound of all those positives in the way Calla is portrayed and the way sexism is tackled. Thanks for renewing my enthusiasm about this one.

  10. I’m beyond happy with your review! Seriously I think I want you to be my new best friend lol. c[= Your energy is just so awesome! I’ve been hearing so many great things about this book it’s unbelievable that I haven’t gone out to buy it myself. The real world is taking over my life to much -_- I’ve read LOTS of review on this book but yours just took it over the edge I’m actually on amazon as I type this buying the book lmao! ^_^

  11. Yay I’m so excited about this one, wish I had it already. I saw the review on Forever YA too and now this one backs it up I think it might have to go on my birthday list. What do you think of the cover though, that’s what put me off, all the purple.

  12. This book has been on my TBR pile for awhile but I haven’t read it yet. Apparently I have to bump it up closer to the top.

Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jessica Secret and Andrea Cremer, April C. April C said: 'I'm pissed I didn't read Nightshade by @andreacremer as soon as I got my hands on it at BEA, BECAUSE IT'S AWESOME' http://bit.ly/h2O0Gy […]

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