Saturday, March 29, 2008

UNLEASHED by Kristopher Reisz

Daniel’s doesn’t feel in control of his life. He is a senior in high school and seems to have everything going for him. He just received word from Cornell that he has been accepted and everyone is excited - except him. Daniel knows he doesn’t deserve the early acceptance into Cornell. He feels like a cheater.

Daniels parents found a doctor that agreed to diagnose Daniel as ADHD which allowed him more time for his SATs. He has never felt comfortable with this decision, but his parents insist he deserves his spot at Cornell despite how he got it. With his feelings unsettled about his future, he begins to notice a group of kids that are on the fringe of school society. The outcasts.

Misty and twin brother Marc are of mixed race in Birmingham, AL where thoughts of the civil rights movements are still fresh on peoples’ minds. They are frequently referred to as “stray” or “mutt” by their peers and struggle to maintain the motivation to attend school. Misty and Marc, together with their friends Val and Eric, begin to visit an abandoned furnace and discover a wild mushrooms growing in the dank and dark building. They decide to eat the mushrooms hoping for a wild ride. They discover animalistic instincts they didn’t know they had after ingesting the mushrooms and shift into wolves, leaving behind their humanity. At first, this transformation is short, but as they continue to make the transformation their ability to stay in wolf form gets longer and longer.

Daniel and Misty begin to form a relationship. Daniel just wants an out from his pre-determined life. Misty is looking to the future. She invites him to join the pack and sets Daniel’s life on a very different path.

While this book isn’t a MUST read, it is enjoyable and a unique concept for a werewolf story. The language is rough (sometimes crude) and there are many sexual situations between various couples. This is definately not a book for the typical middle school reader.

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