Narrated by Kieren, a high school student of Irish-Mexican descent, this story extends the universe established by Cynthia Leitich Smith in her successful young adult novel series, Tantalize. Kieren, a werewolf on the edge of making momentous decisions — such as leaving home after graduating high school in order to join a wolf pack — finds his life complicated by his romantic interest with his human best friend Quincie and by a crime committed at the restaurant owned by Quincie’s family. Other supernatural species, such as nasty vampires and other were-animals, supply a wide variety of protagonists and antagonists as Kieren solves the crime while, at the same time, battling his ordinary and extra-ordinary teenage angst. Fast paced action, three dimensional characters, animated dialogue, and an understated sense of humor offer readers of this dark supernatural fantasy a fine read. Although the black and white illustrations by Ming Doyle have been praised by reviewers, this reviewer found them static and rather unsatisfying, particularly the mouths of the characters. I kept falling out of the story when looking at the lips of all the characters. Strange mouths aside, the dark overtones of the illustrations clearly reflect and compliment the pacing, dialogue, characterization, and plot line of the story from Kieran’s point of view.

Tantalize: Kieren’s Story
by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Art by Ming Doyle
ISBN: 978-0-7636-44
Candlewick, 2011
Publisher Age Rating: 14

  • Gail

    | She/Her Professor, Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta


    In addition to teaching at the School of Library and Information Studies (University of Alberta) where she is an adjunct professor, Gail tells stories and conducts workshops on a wide variety of topics across Canada and the United States. Each year she teaches the following courses for the University of Alberta. All of her courses are delivered online: Storytelling, Comic Books and Graphic Novels in School and Public Libraries, Canadian Children’s Literature for School and Public Libraries and Young Adult Literature. She also teaches a course on Indigenous Literature for the ATEP program (Aboriginal Teacher Education Program) at the University of Alberta. Gail is the award-winning author of nine books on storytelling and folklore in popular culture.

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