Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Book - 2021

"Becca moves to an upscale Silicon Valley suburb and is surprised when she develops a bond with girls who belong to the popular clique-and even more surprised when she learns their secrets"--

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Graphic novels
Werewolf comics
School comics
Lesbian comics
New York, NY : Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers [2021]
Main Author
Maggie Tokuda-Hall (author)
Other Authors
Lisa Sterle (illustrator)
First edition
Physical Description
211 pages : chiefly color illustrations ; 24 cm
Ages 14 up.
Grades 10-12.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

After a friendly exchange of menstrual products, cool-girl Marley invites new-girl Becca to join her clique, thus setting into motion a Heathers-esque tale about a smart teen who discovers the darker cost of fitting in. When a drunk bro tries to assault Becca at a Bay Area beach party, her new, popular friends intervene, revealing that they are not a squad so much as a pack. Every full moon, they hunt predatory dudes--and they need a fourth member to help eat the evidence. Sterle uses her illustrations---rendered in a classic teen style, with stylish outfits and deliberate linework--to differentiate the girls. Arianna, the alpha, dons a high pony; queer, Asian Becca dresses casually; Marley, who's white, is the bubbly, girly blonde; and Amanda, who's Black, rocks natural hair that is sometimes braided, sometimes springy and cloud-like. Female friendship sits front and center in this supernatural vigilante story, even when plans unravel. Readers who want thrilling carnage, sharp dialogue, and sapphic romance mixed into their teen dramas will devour this transformative tale. Expect high interest, and stock up for Halloween!

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

If the popular girls at a Bay Area high school seem overly eager to befriend smart, queer, Asian-cued Becca, they have a specific reason in mind: they're werewolves in need of another packmate. Every full moon, bubbly blonde Marley; assertive Amanda, cued as Black; and rich, ruthless Arianna, who reads as white, choose one sexually aggressive male as their victim--attacking at the moment when a party hookup turns nonconsensual--and they require a fourth person to help them fully devour their prey. Despite being conscripted into the pack, Becca enjoys the power that comes with the bargain, as well as having an outlet for her anger and hunger. But when Arianna's trophy boyfriend attacks Becca, she lashes out in wolf form, and the group begins to splinter--Amanda challenges Arianna's leadership, and Becca crushes on Marley as the FBI searches for the missing boys. Literalizing pack mentality, Tokuda-Hall (The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea) smoothly explores the complexities of so-called sisterhood. Sterle's (Long Lost, for adults) long, lean characters don neo-1980s and '90s fashions in art that dovetails with the economical storytelling to create an intersectional examination of high school social dynamics that doesn't shortchange readers on adventure. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 14--up. Author's agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary. (Oct.)■

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up--An outsider back in Los Angeles, Becca hopes to turn things around at her new school. She meets Marley, one of the school's queen bees, and gets an unexpected invitation to join her clique. The other members, Arianna and Amanda, aren't especially welcoming, but they accept Becca after she works hard to fit in. She soon learns that this pack is literally that--Arianna, Amanda, and Marley are werewolves who feast on boys, but only those they believe are dangerous predators. Becca agrees to be turned and joins the hunt, but things soon spin out of control. The narrative is solid, though a slow-to-evolve subplot about Becca's queerness feels like an afterthought and is sometimes borderline homophobic. Issues around Becca's fraught relationship with her mother also feel tacked on. Nevertheless, the story offers a fresh look at the cost of fitting in and how the line between predator and prey often blurs. Sterle's artwork is strong, whether conveying the girls' disdain or gruesomely illustrating the werewolves feasting. Her use of bright colors throughout adds intensity. Becca is Asian, Marley is white, Arianna is tan-skinned, Amanda is Black, and their classmates are diverse. VERDICT Using supernatural elements, this graphic novel deftly explores the cost of belonging.--Carla Riemer, Berkeley, CA

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

New student Becca can hardly believe her luck when Arianna, Marley, and Amanda, who sit at the top of the Piedmont High School hierarchy, pick her to join their exclusive friend group. She does her best to remain in their favor, taking cues from Marley and Amanda about how to go along with whatever Arianna requires of her. One night, the three girls arrive just in time to rescue Becca from being assaulted at a party, revealing themselves to be man-eating werewolves who target predatory boys. It doesn't take much to convince Becca to join their ranks and help them enact vigilante justice. There is a price, however: a hunger that must be satisfied by consuming human flesh during the full moon. But the girls assure Becca that with the four of them looking out for each other the risk of discovery is low. The story highlights important topics, including internalized misogyny and codependent friendships. Becca yearns for the support and closeness that the squad offers, and this fuels her willingness to overlook their offenses--from microaggressions to murder--until things get out of control. The color illustrations are reminiscent of classic comics; the familiar normality of the everyday high school scenes portrayed stands in stark contrast to the werewolves' meting out of justice. Becca is gay and Asian, Amanda is Black, and Marley and Arianna read as White. An exciting look at girl power gone wrong. (Graphic paranormal. 13-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.