cover image Immortal Lycanthropes

Immortal Lycanthropes

Hal Johnson, illus. by Teagan White. Clarion, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-547-75196-2

Johnson’s debut never quite finds its footing, but the chaos of the plot and smugly self-conscious narration are tempered by some fascinating concepts and a hefty dose of the absurd. Myron Horo-witz, an adopted orphan whose scarred face reflects a childhood trauma, is a ninth grader who still looks like he’s eight years old. When he becomes the target of a bully one day, his hidden powers send the other boy to the hospital and bring Myron to the attention of people trying to kill or save him. He learns that he’s one of the titular creatures, which can transform into animals and can only die at the hands of another lycanthrope. Myron’s misadventures introduce him to secret societies (it turns out the Illuminati prevented WWI for 100 years), dangerous tests, and allies that range from a cheese-addicted weremoose to a helpful but larcenous weregorilla. The wackiness sits oddly against some of the more brutal and serious moments (including murdered teens, kidnapped and enslaved children, etc.), but the mythology Johnson creates is intriguing. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)