Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones has to be one of the most unique takes on the werewolf genre that I have read. To be truthful, I do not read a lot of werewolf books.
A yet to transform boy and later teenager travel across the US with his uncle Darren and his aunt Libby. Libby and Darren are werewolves who must continue moving to survive. Sometimes they move because one of them has killed the wrong person, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes they move because there are werewolf trackers on their tale. Wherever they go, our narrator is waiting for his first transformation. He realizes he isn't like his uncle or aunt, but he hopes that someday he will change.
The story itself is told entirely through our unnamed narrator as he moves through life with his uncle and aunt. It is part a coming of age story, part gypsy life story, and part werewolf story. Our narrator admires his aunt and uncle and wants their life so much, even if it means a life of isolation and constant moving. He cannot connect with human girls because wolves kill them if the woman becomes pregnant. So, as he becomes a teen and his teen desires grow, he is torn between them and the wolf life.
We also meet other werewolves and two different types that have given up the wolf life. One group refuses to transform back to human and another are werewolves who refuse to become wolf anymore. Unlike the old tales, the full moon has nothing to do with transformation, but rather a desire to transform. Part of the question for our narrator is what is the difference between the wolf life and the human life?
There are also these little interlude chapters where the narration is a bit different and told from a 3rd person perspective. Our narrator has been keeping a journal throughout his time, so these might be journal entries, but it is never specified.
As much as I loved this take on the werewolf, the writing was at times a bit off-putting. I couldn't put my finger on why, but something was just slightly off every now and then which pulled me from the narrative. The book though as a whole is a great take on the werewolf genre.
I gave this one 4 stars.
Here is your Amazon link- Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones