The Lupine Effect by Kayla Speciale

four stars

A sixteen year old orphan, Ellie Ringer has not had an easy life so far. Emotionally disturbed due to her parents’ mysterious death when she was only a young girl, she acts out in distress quite often, recklessly and violently alienating herself from the other people around her. The Lupine Effect by Kayla Speciale tells the story of Ellie finding answers about her life, while finding more questions simultaneously along the way, as she discovers that she has the ability to transform into a wolf. On the night that she changes, Ellie escapes the orphanage and begins her life as a half wolf/half human hybrid amongst others like her that she finds living within the woods. The fellow kids she comes to know that are just like her, Todd (the leader), Amber, Luke, and Kip teach her about being a wolf, which causes Ellie to find some sort of solace. It doesn’t last long however, as Ellie discovers that all of her friends parents died in the same mysterious way as hers did. The teenagers come to realize that it’s due to their wolf like transformation abilities that their parents were wiped out, just as they learn that there are others out there who wish to cause them harm.

The Lupine Effect has a little bit of everything, elements of young adult fiction, science fiction, and fantasy too. Speciale does an excellent job of making her main character, Ellie, a dynamic character that has flaws, fears, and frustrations. The supporting cast of teen wolves that Ellie meets in the woods are also well rounded and make swell additions to the narrative. With an abundance of vampire novels on book shelves, it’s refreshing to see a tale about wolves like this existing in a similar sphere, yet existing in an original realm all its own. There are moments in the novel that could be more polished, but overall it is engrossing read that young readers and lovers of supernatural tales are sure to thoroughly enjoy.

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