Girls that Growl
You thought being a teenager was difficult? Try living Rayne McDonald’s life. As Girls that Growl opens, her life as a vampire slayer for Slayer, Inc. has become ever more precarious because she’s been turned into a vampire herself. And if that weren’t enough, a virus in her bloodstream renders her unable to live as a normal vampire. While she has eternal life and a few other vampire attributes, she will never have the full range of vampire powers.
In addition to her supernatural problems, Rayne must cope with the usual range of high school issues. Her mother, a single parent, recently found love in the arms of a man Rayne does not truly like. Her twin sister dithers endlessly over whether to sleep with her boyfriend and Rayne’s own vampire boyfriend, newly able to go into the sunlight, is no more a brooding creature of darkness but instead a cheery beach-lover. School gives Rayne no relief as her unusual habits and Goth style mark her as an outsider. Still, Rayne has settled into her life somewhat when she receives an unwanted new assignement from Slayer, Inc.
Concerned about the disappearance of a high school football player, Slayer, Inc. believes that the cheerleading squad has some form of involvement with it. Therefore, Rayne must trade in her fishnets for a set of pom poms and infiltrate the cheerleading squad. Rayne can think of nothing she would less want to do. Not only does Rayne look down on the cheerleaders, but these girls have been her chief high school tormentors.
While the author’s writing style at times sounded as though she was trying too hard to be hip, she tells a very readable story. Rayne infiltrates the cheerleading squad and along the way, learns a lot both about herself and about accepting other people without it ever feeling preachy. The many twists and turns of the cheerleader mystery kept my interest, and Rayne’s struggles to find her way in spite of her own insecurities create some oddly touching moments. In the second half of the book, uneven pacing interrupts the story flow somewhat as too much happens too quickly, but the overall story remains enjoyable for the most part.
Another strength in this book lies with Rayne and her boyfriend Jareth’s growth in their relationship. The author does a good job of showing Rayne’s adjustment to her new vampire status and this adjustment requires a more mature attitude toward her relationship with Jareth as well. Parents looking at this book for their children should note that the narrator makes no secret of the fact that she is sexually active and quite happy about it, so those who do not approve may want to think twice.