Banned Books Week is coming up soon, and I decided that it would be fun/awesome to have some Memory Monday posts about banned books that I remember reading and loving as a kid.
When I was younger (early elementary school) my older sister (2 1/2 years older) belonged to a book club at her school. That was the most grown up think I could think of at the time (other than real grown up stuff, like jobs and houses and all that stuff) and I was in awe. This also meant that I stole the books she brought home behind her back, because she hated that I would steal borrow them. (I only wanted to be like her...)
Anyway, one of the books she brought home was Annette Curtis Klause's Blood and Chocolate. Now, I'm not sure if any of you have read it. And what you think of it is largely going to depend on personal preferences, age you read it etc. But I love that book. Like, a lot. I don't even really like paranormal (partly because it all feels incredibly the same to me) but this was my very first werewolf story. Ever. And wow. Was it different from what I had previously read.
I've always been an advanced reader. Always. English and language comprehension have always been my highest standardized test scores and I'm really good at contextually figuring out what is happening when I need to. So I understood everything that was going on in this book. And honestly, looking back I'm not sure if that's really a good thing... But that's a whole 'nother story.
As a whole, this book has nothing terribly inappropriate in it for a teenager. But — I read Blood and Chocolate when I was 10, maybe 11. And the content is a little mature for an 11 year old. It's an book geared toward older teens, but I didn't care, because I felt so grown up reading it. I was a little bit scandalized by the many innuendos I came across, especially the few that I was old/mature enough to know were supposed to be, but still too young/inexperienced to fully grasp what they meant.
I've reread this book more than once since then, and I still kind of love it. The story of Vivian is one that can really resonate with a lot of teens, because although none of us are werewolves falling in love with human boys, most teenagers feel like they don't belong in their own skins, in their own lives and that's hard. Vivian simply had a specific and physical difference that she had to live with, so it's easier to see.
I do understand why parents might have a hard time with this one — There are a lot of sexual references (some more on the inappropriate side) as well as quite a bit of swearing, teenage dropouts, crass dialogue etc. But, it's also the story of a bunch of teenage werewolves who sometimes, believe they are better than/above normal humans because they are stronger. But it's also a book that teaches us a lot about what it means to be human and how important personal choices are (both themes that are explored in her vampire novel, The Silver Kiss, which I also love probably even more than this one). It's not a book that's going to be for everyone, but it's definitely one that I'm glad I read, even if I should have waited on it until I was a little older.