I’ve been really struggling through reading YA lately. I’m actually in the middle of reading about 5 or 6 books at the moment and I read a little of them and then put them aside to read something else. I don’t know what it’s about. I’ve just been really having a hard time with it. The only author whose books I’ve been finishing are Ella James’s. I love her Stained series and Here trilogy books and I’ve been knocking them back like they are candy. But everything else is been like trying to eat green beans and celery. Blech.
But this week I have Change for Me by Lynn Red as my Any Day that Ends in YA. This book was a little different than what I had expected. I really loved J.A. Redmerski’s Darkwoods Trilogy and I think that as far as shifter books that might be my ideal teen shifter book. This book is NOTHING like that. As a matter of fact, it’s not like any shifter book I have read before. I found it refreshing–yet troubling.
Lily is nineteen and is just graduating from high school. She lives with her grandfather in Fort Branch, Arizona and she has known most of the people in her life for most of her life and in her small town the biggest change that is about to happen to her and her friends is that they will all be leaving for college in the fall. During her graduation, one person is missing, the guy who got away, Damon King. Even though she has always had feelings for him their relationship never seemed to be going where she wanted it too so she broke it off two years earlier. Which for some reason seems to be big deal in a rather trivial moment a la commencement.
Damon is a member of the Skarachee Clan. His elder Poko has been trying to help him through his transition. Not only is he transitioning into his shifter animal, Damon is in a battle at the same time against Devin his rival a member of the Carak Clan to be Alpha. I don’t quite understand why there can’t be two Alpha’s one for each clan, even when you learn the lore of how the clans came to be it still doesn’t seem to make sense to me why this town isn’t big enough for two sheriffs, regardless they are in a fight for Alpha, at the same time they are going through their transition. One of the thing that Poko tells Damon he needs to survive the transition is his mate, Lily. Who he has been estranged from since they broke up two years ago when they were Sophomores in high school.
It has all the right pieces to be a great story. All the right blocks are there they are just rough and in the wrong place.
Because it feels too young to me for a story of this kind to work successfully. Even as a coming of age story it feels off. The entire thing with Lily breaking it off with him in tenth grade because he wasn’t emotionally available is the pettiness of children and they are still children. I saw this book tagged in some places as a new adult novel but just because they have graduated doesn’t necessarily make it graduate to a new adult novel for me. The mental age of Lily and Damon when readers are in their heads in this book does not say to me, “I am about to start this new time of my life.” It feels like a teens adventure.
It’s not just Lily and Damon that gave me pause in this book. Devin, who is the rival and the big bad is suppose to be the animal to Damon’s humanity. The problem in writing something of this nature is that when you do a fight of this magnitude you have to maintain the animal is brutality, unconscionable and unforgiving. While you weigh that with humanity being understanding, loving and protective. Making boys play this part feels as if you are making only half the promise to me. Making an Alpha from someone who is only tried by a trip through the desert where he fought someone that wasn’t really those things above the hero doesn’t scream to me leader of a pack or even kick ass to me. It doesn’t feel all that powerful. The reason the Darkwood Trilogy worked was because there was an actual chain of power that was handed down. You didn’t see any power before with Poko. You saw no other shifters. And Damon having good hearing, seeing stars and waking up when Lily tells him to doesn’t make me think wow he’s definitely a great clan warrior. It makes me think more along the lines of, he’d be a really good person to pick to track me down a rabbit at night. None of this story makes sense?
I am on the fence. I would like to see if anything is cleared up in book 2 but I also feel that my time is more valuable than to spend reading a second book as confounding than this one. I wouldn’t really recommend this book. I don’t think it is worth the time.
Lynn Red can be found on her Amazon Author’s Page.