cover image Mongrels


Stephen Graham Jones. Morrow, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-241269-0

In this lyrical but meandering novel, Jones (After the People Lights Have Gone Off) delicately portrays the coming of age of a young boy growing up in a family of werewolves. Throughout the novel, the unnamed narrator and his aunt, Libby, and uncle, Darren, both werewolves, wander the present-day American South working low-wage jobs while always wary of the dangers of staying in one place for too long and being recognized for what they really are. The narrator's voice is heartfelt and absorbing as he learns the rules of being a werewolf while always wondering whether he will become one himself, a question that drives the story to its moving conclusion. There are jailbreaks and various battles, including one with a bear, alongside several encounters with other werewolves. While the episodic structure sometimes causes the novel to feel as aimless as its characters, it's still an often moving portrait of a family struggling to survive in a world that "wants us to be monsters." (May)