Nessa Kurland is running for her life.
C. D. Bell’s WEREGIRL is a fast-paced teen thriller set in Tether, Michigan, a town on the brink of shutdown since it was stripped of its resources by corporate polluter Dutch Chemical.
High school junior, Nessa Kurland, is a cross-country runner with her eyes set on one thing: a college scholarship as her one-way ticket out of Tether.
Talented teammate Cynthia Sinise invites Nessa on a nighttime run through Tether’s overgrown forest trails. But she speeds ahead, leaving Nessa alone to discover a trapped wolf. Nessa tries to free the animal but is badly bitten, seemingly ruining her hopes for a strong fall season with the cross-country team.
Instead, Nessa’s freakishly quick recovery is followed by improved running times. All her senses are heightened. Nessa has transformed.
She has become a werewolf.
In her new state, Nessa learns there are things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. Why does a Nobel Laureate work at the small-town medical clinic? Are top college athletic scouts really interested in her emerging talent? Can she trust Chayton, the motorcycle-riding guide her friends have faith in? WEREGIRL’s Nessa must navigate her junior year and true human darkness, while making peace with her new, wild nature.
PURCHASE INFORMATION + LINKS
WEREGIRL [Chooseco LLC] will be available in hardcover and e-book formats via all online and select brick-and-mortar book retailers as of November 1, 2016. Pre-order your copy today on Amazon or the WEREGIRL website: http://weregirl.com/products/weregirl
READ ON FOR INFO ABOUT THE AUTHOR & PUBLISHER, EXCERPTS, AND A SPECIAL CHARACTER Q&A!
And then Nessa had to strain to remember what a phone was. She called to mind the image of her phone, but it felt like déjà vu—she could remember remembering it, but that was it. She certainly couldn’t imagine picking one up to call or text someone. She couldn’t imagine picking one up, period.
Her hands were paws already. White fur tufted up from them, glowing in the moonlight. She had a sense of herself as a bright flash of white, a satellite of the moon above.
Nessa had forgotten about how crisply focused everything became when she could smell as a wolf. Smelling was like tasting. It was like feeling. Smells were attached to emotions, even for humans—a smell was one of the few memories of Nessa’s dad that lingered: sage, smoke, and soil.
Running, Nessa sensed mice, deer, cats—processing each being’s existence. Could they hurt her? Could she eat them?
A dog had been through earlier. She could smell the sheep enclosed in their barn at Joe Bent’s farm. The wood smoke and charred meat from his dinner table made her hungry and afraid, all at the same time. There were a hundred different acrid burning smells coming from the cars and tractors and ATVs and generators he kept on the property, and another kind of burning smell—leaves?
In the woods, the smells were softer, colder: a decomposing log carried down the current in a stream, sap sprayed from a recently snapped pine bough, an ant hill about a half a mile away, an owl’s nest up in a tree a mile beyond that. And, of course, the other wolves.
She caught the trail of the pack led by the white wolf. She recognized each of their scents. She wondered whether she would be welcomed again, and then she plunged forward, remembering how they had run with her and played with her, and wrestled and raced. She heard howling in the distance and picked up speed, knowing that they must have smelled her, too.
She sat back on her haunches and called out to them, hoping they could hear her and would know that she meant no harm.
For a non-pack member to enter a pack’s territory would likely mean death, but somehow she was different. She wasn’t one of them, but neither was she a threat.
Character Q&A with WEREGIRL’s Heroine Nessa Kurland!
- How old are you? (And how old are you mentally? Are you a 40 year old in the body of a sixteen year old, or vice versa?)
I am 16 years old, but I feel older. I guess that comes from thinking about my future so much–of having to think about it because if I don’t, no one else will.
When I transform into a wolf, though, all that thinking goes away. I can’t say I feel my age. I don’t feel like I have an age. I just feel like everything is lined up just the way it should be.
- Did you have a happy childhood? Why or why not? I know most people would look at my childhood and think it wasn’t happy. You know, the whole single-mom, not much money, kind of crappy small town. But actually my childhood was awesome. Tether, the town where I live, is really small and surrounded by farms and woods. When I was little, I would build forts in the trees with kids in my neighborhood and pretend my sister Delphine and I were going to live in them. I’d come out with my face smeared with dirt, sticks and leaves in my hair, my jeans stained or ripped. I guess it’s was early preparation for being a werewolf. 🙂
- What are your important past/present relationships? How have they affected you
Starting in middle school I got to be friends with Bree. I’m not that have-a-million-friends kind of person (Bree is), but I know how important it is to have one best friend who knows everything about me. She always makes me laugh and she has a car so I can use her for rides (KIDDING!).
My family–obviously–they’re so important to me. Knowing that we’re always going to be there for each other makes me confident.
My coach–sometimes I wish he was pushing me harder, but I know he’s got my back. He’s kind of dorky, though, he’s always humming these 1980s love-duets he remembers from high school.
Chayton, who is this guy who knows stuff about werewolves. He’s hard to reach when you need him most, and it pisses him off that it was me who got picked to be a one instead of someone who grew up with a shapeshifting tradition, but I guess he’s stuck with me anyway. Sometimes, because he isn’t trying to be nice to me, I can say things to him I couldn’t say to anyone else.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but there’s also this guy a guy who has become important to me recently…
- What do you care about? I care about running. I care about getting out of Tether, because it’s a town where the people who stay don’t get good jobs. I care about my brother Nate, who most people don’t understand, but I do. I care about animals–I’ve always loved being with them, and got my job cleaning cages at the vet’s because the animals like me. Or at least, they used to, until they started smelling the wolf on me.
- What are you obsessed with? Running. I’m obsessed with getting a cross-country scholarship. Over the summer, I worked at the vet’s, but in the morning I ran and in the afternoon I ran again. I followed this training program I found online that helps you get faster and I followed it like it was the Bible.
- What is your biggest fear?
My old biggest fear is that I’ll get stuck in Tether like so many adults here are, with no real choices, no big dreams, and no way out. My NEW biggest fear is that I’ll get a patch of wolf fur on my face in the middle of school.
I’m also kind of crazy-afraid of spiders, but don’t spread that around, because I’m so afraid of them I can’t even talk about it.
- What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst? That’s easy. Getting bit by a wolf when I was running by myself in the woods was both the best and the worst thing that ever happened to me. It gave me the ability to run as fast as I need to run to get a scholarship (though I like to think I would have reached the goal without it). It opened up this whole world in the woods I never would have known was there. And it introduced me to some people who have really changed my life. Still, it was scary and for a long time I had nightmares about the moment when I saw that the wolf was coming for me.
- What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you? Once, when the moon was almost full, I was walking through the halls at school while the chorus was having practicing. I’m a terrible singer but there was something about what they were singing, I just had to stop and hum along. Then suddenly, this kid was passing by and he was just staring at me because I wasn’t just humming. I was…howling.
- What is your biggest secret?
Do you mean besides the fact that every full moon and new moon I have to sneak out into the woods and transform into a wolf? Hahahahahaha.
Okay, seriously, I have one. My biggest secret is that I wish I knew my dad. I don’t talk about it because I don’t want to make my mom think she’s not doing enough for our family, but I wonder. Where did he go? Why doesn’t he ever call?
- What is the one word you would use to define yourself? FIERCE.
About C. D. Bell:
When she’s not biking the streets of Brooklyn, NY, you can find C. D. Bell writing in a decrepit RV clinging to the side of a hill in upstate New York, trying to teach herself to
watercolor, or inventing her own recipes. She is a voracious reader of anything and everything fantasy, supernatural, or romance. And she swears that the monsters she often writes about are not real– at least she hopes not.
Created by a talented team of six female writers and inspired by the working tradition of television writers, C. D. Bell is a Chooseco author pseudonym developed with teen author Cathleen Davitt Bell, who has written I Remember You [Knopf 2015], among other novels for young adults.
The second installment of the WEREGIRL trilogy is already in the works.
Chooseco publishes the Choose Your Own Adventure series. Widely commended for its appeal to reluctant readers, the interactive, multiple-choice multiple-ending series is the 4th-bestselling series for children ever published, with more than 265 million copies translated into 38 languages. Chooseco has sold over 10 million copies since the series re-launch in 2006. Weregirl represents Chooseco’s first foray into full-length, non-interactive young adult fiction.