The Lupin Effect by Kayla Speciale
Ellie Ringer has a difficult life. At a young age both of her parents die of freak heart attacks, stemming from an unknown and undiagnosed disease. This leaves young Ellie, confused and saddened, to try to begin a new life with her grandparents. Ellie soon starts to suffer from inexplicable mood swings, temper tantrums, and bouts of sullenness that cause her grandparents to feel bewildered, nervous, and helpless. When Ellie is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and shows no signs of improving, she is sent to a psychiatric ward for years of around the clock care. At the age of sixteen, Ellie finally gets a pass to leave the ward, except her grandparents have passed away and she is now an orphan. Possibly the only thing worse than being a teenage girl living in a psychiatric ward is being a teenage girl living in an orphanage. Then things start to get weird. Ellie wakes up in the middle of the night feeling ill and soon discovers that she has the ability to turn into a wolf. In that moment, Ellie is no longer Ellie Ringer, troubled orphan child with an unknown future, she is Ellie Ringer, a powerful human wolf-hybrid with a mission to learn more about herself and maybe even discover what happened to her parents. Throw in some cute boys with nice abs, a dangerous villain, and some double-crossing and Kayla Speciale’s The Lupin Effect is a howling good time.
The Lupin Effect is an easy-to-read young adult novel about discovering one’s true self and finding meaning in a world that does not initially seem willing to accept you. Speciale’s writing is simple and straightforward, at times overly so. The dialogue is sometimes a little bit stiff and can read rather uninspiring during certain scenes, but it serves the purpose of propelling the plot along at a steady pace. Often the writing feels like Speciale intends it for a film script instead of for a novel, leaving the reader wanting more depth, diversity, and character development with fewer grammatical errors. Nevertheless, while the writing leaves a little more to be desired, the themes of acceptance, family, and uniqueness are all relevant to today’s young adults and will make readers connect with the story.
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