nos·tal·gia [no-stal-juh] – noun:
A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause is a book I’ve been reading since middle school when I stumbled upon it in the teen section of my local library. I remember being pulled in first by the title, then by the alluring (and somewhat sexy) cover, and then finally hooked by the blurb – teen werewolves?! I’m in! I’ve always been more of a weregirl than a vampgirl. I loved the story when I was younger and I still love it today!
“Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?
Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He’s fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.
Vivian’s divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really–human or beast? Which tastes sweeter–blood or chocolate?”
I loved Vivian from the start – she’s vain, confident, utterly beautiful and powerful. But she learns humility throughout the story and that it’s not always easy to stand out from the pack. She struggles to balance the human parts of her life with her wolfish nature and she was somehow relatable to me (even though I was probably ten or eleven when I first read this book.) I still love Vivian now and I also love me some hunky werewolf action too (Gabriel! -swoon-) There’s just something familiar about the characters and I always found it easy to imagine myself in Vivian’s shoes (I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a hot weregirl?) and now I’ve read the book so many times that it all just feels like home.
There is (of course) a movie adaptation out there as well. It came out in 2007 from Lakeshore Entertainment, and I thought about watching it before writing this post, but then I read a description of the movie…
“Vivian is a nineteen-year-old werewolf born in Bucharest, Romania to American parents who then moved back to America. When Vivian was nine years old, her parents and two siblings were killed by two hunters who then proceeded to burn down their house. She then moved back to Bucharest to live with her aunt Astrid, who was the mate of the pack’s leader, Gabriel at that time. To Astrid’s distress, Gabriel left her after seven years in accordance with pack law to choose a new mate. The culmination of another seven years is only a few months away and Gabriel wants the reluctant Vivian as his.
This is not, however, what she wants. She begins a romance with a graphic novelist Aiden who is researching for his latest book. Though he is human, he knows much about her kind, the Loups-Garoux. Their romance is closely watched by her cousin Rafe and his friends. Believing that she is telling him all their secrets- as seen by a drawing he did of her and wolves because he knew her as “The Wolf Girl”- and may grow to be a danger to their pack, Rafe tells Gabriel of them. Gabriel then tells Rafe that Aiden must leave or he must be dealt with.”
This is already so off course from the book that I’m mad. I read the full description on Wikipedia and…just…UGH. They took the character names and the barest bones of the plot (Vivian is a werewolf who falls in love with a human and her pack doesn’t like it) and then ran away to Cheeseville so they could completely ruin a solid YA paranormal romance novel.
Some highlights from Rotten Tomatoes:
“Cheap special effects and banal dialogue rule.”
“So little happens in Blood and Chocolate that it almost serves as a cautionary tale about traveling to Romania – even if you’re a werewolf, you’re going to be sullen and boring.”
“There isn’t enough absinthe in all of Romania to obliterate the taste of this clunker.”
Because I’m a sucker for punishment, if it ever makes it to Netflix for free, I’ll watch it, but I won’t give a dime to see one of my favorite young adult books bastardized into a terrible movie.
At any rate, I still love the book, and you might too!