Teen Read Week was October 16th through the 22nd, but here at The Hub, we’re celebrating all month long with 31 Days of Authors. On each day in October, we’ll bring you exclusive author interviews and profiles plus reflections on what YALSA-recognized books have meant to us. Today we feature Andrea Cremer, whose book Nightshade is #10 on this year’s Teens’ Top Ten list.
Confession. I love books about werewolves, vampires, witches and the like.
Another confession. These days, I often find the originality of such books lacking, and titles and authors blur together into one big, indistinguishable blob in my mind.
So why do I keep reading books about werewolves and their mystical peers? Because every now and again, an author really gets it right…and Andrea Cremer is one of those authors. But don’t take my word for it. Ask the 9,000 or so teens from across the country that voted Nightshade as one of their ten most cherished books of 2011. And have no fear, Nightshade is book one in a happy trilogy. The story continues in Wolfsbane (released in July 2011) and finishes with Bloodrose (due out in February 2012).
Cremer takes common werewolf lore and twists and turns it into something totally new, utterly compelling, and just pretty darn cool. Nightshade is the story of a non-human society that exists alongside humans. Keepers, elder beings with magical/mystical powers, firmly have a place at the top ranks. Related to the Keepers are the searchers, who share the keeper powers but not their beliefs–they are presumably the enemy to all. Beneath both keepers and searchers are the guardians–and it’s the guardians that hold center stage in Nightshade. Guardians are humans who flip easily between wolf and human form and act as soldiers or enforcers on the keepers’ behalf. They obey the keepers without question, even to the extent that a keeper determines which “alphas” will lead a “pack,” who will mate with whom, where they will live, etc. Essentially, guardians accept that their lives are not their own and they do so because they believe they are part of a just cause that protects all of humanity.