Girls That Growl
Published 2007 249 pages
Summary (from the back cover)
I’m a vampire. I’m also a vampire slayer. (It’s a long story – don’t ask.) And now I, Rayne McDonald, Goth girl, have to try out for the cheerleading squad?
You’d think that after I saved my coven last semester, I’d get a break or something. I’ve got enough on my plate: My twin keeps whining about whether or not to go all the way; Mom’s boyfriend is moving in; and my man, Jareth, who’s now allowed out in the sun, has turned from a dark, brooding hottie vamp into a surfer dude.
But I’m still on the clock and have a new assignment. A member of the football team has disappeared – and my bosses at Slayer Inc. think the cheerleaders had something to do with it, because they’re actually werewolves! I always knew they were a pack of bitc…
Now they want me to infiltrate the squad and get the dirt. But first, I’ll need an extreme prep makeover. If only they’d le me wear fishnets under this revolting uniform…
Girls That Growl is the third book in Mari Mancusi’s entertaining teen vampire series. The story is narrated in first person by Rayne, whose character was also the heroine of the second novel in this series, Stake That!
Rayne is back in all her ripped t-shirt and fishnetted Goth glory only this time she is even more snarky and snarly than ever before. As a “gimped” vampire, she has few vampire powers to speak of (in fact all she’s got vampire skill wise is immortality and the ability to send telepathic messages to other vamps.) She is having a hard time adjusting to being a vampire and she still can’t (or won’t) drink real blood. This could be why she spends most of the story in such a nasty bad mood, but her character’s constant ill temper and rash actions soon becomes more grating than entertaining.
Girls That Growl is a mixture of teen chick-lit and supernatural fantasy. While it has some parallels with Buffy the Vampire Slayer – namely that Rayne has been chosen from birth to be a vampire slayer and she is forced to work for Slayers Inc. investigating supernatural mysteries – Rayne’s character lacks some of the humour and warmth of Buffy’s. Buffy was more of a team player and didn’t pull the somewhat irritating “I am the slayer, I’m going to do it” routine when people tried to help her out with her problems.
While Girls That Growl is a fast paced and entertaining read, the background setting to the fantasy plot is a little weak in places. There is a “full-moon simulator shack”. How does that work exactly? How do you simulate the gravitational forces that the moon exerts upon the earth at full moon, in a shack? A vampire can transform from bat to human form and carry a gun at the same time. “How he transported that gun while in bat form, I’ll never know” thinks Rayne. We, the readers, will never know either - because these things are just dropped into the plot and skimmed over as quickly as possible with no explanations.
Luckily the pace of the novel is such that it pulls the attention of the reader away from supernatural things that the author didn’t want to explain and it is only when the reader gets to the end of the story that they sit back and wonder exactly how they got there. To me this makes Girls That Growl somewhat lacking in substance - but taken and read at face value by its target teen audience I don’t think this will prove to be too much of a problem.
Girls That Growl may not be as humorous as Boys That Bite or as strong as Stake That! but what it lacks in substance it more than makes up for in plot speed and cheerleader jokes!
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