Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O'Neal

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Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O'Neal

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Buy Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O'Neal at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Amber Wells
Reviewed by Amber Wells
Summary: A heart-warming and hilarious read about dealing with chronic illness and a best friend who turns into a werewolf.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: April 2021
Publisher: Quirk Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1683692348

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Having recently been diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, Priya has to come to terms with the fact that she may be in constant pain for the rest of her life. She joins Oof Ouch My Bones, an online support group where she talks to a bunch of other teens living with chronic illnesses. They talk about their troubles and help each other out, while also providing an escape to just joke and mess around. When Brigid—one of her closest friends—doesn't respond to the chat for a while, Priya becomes concerned. She decides to steal her parents' car and drive to Brigid's house to check up on her. But what she doesn't expect to find there is a werewolf in the basement – and for that werewolf to be the girl she has been talking to online for the past few months.

To say that this was an addicting read would be an understatement. I didn't just read this book, I devoured it. The writing style hooked me from the very first lines and I dreaded having to get up to do something else, knowing that I could better spend my time with the characters O'Neal has expertly crafted. To put things into perspective, this book is just shy of 400 pages, and yet I read the whole thing in just one day!

What drew me to this book was the premise; the sheer bizarreness of it combined with the hints of Gen Z humour instantly caught my attention – and it definitely delivered. All of the jokes and references felt completely authentic to how teens speak these days, and the use of social media and group chats was especially enjoyable. However, if you're not a fan of pop culture references and the constant use of technology in books, then this aspect may become tiring for you because the novel does rely heavily on it to move the story along.

Despite being initially excited by the premise of this book, there was still a small part of me that was worried about how the concept of werewolves would be presented. It was probably the lingering memories of early YA werewolves that made me hesitant, the kind that were broody and over romanticised in far too many books. But thankfully, this novel took a different approach. Instead of being one of those broody and overdramatic werewolves that I was tired of, Brigid was just a normal girl who saw it as an illness. Once a month, for a day or two at most, she would turn into a werewolf and then turn back into herself again. For such a paranormal concept, this book does a really good job at making it all seem normal, and in turn, the whole book just reads like a normal contemporary novel.

One thing that I really appreciated was the strong focus on friendship in this book. There were definitely many opportunities to include a romance, but this was never fully explored further than a few subtle hints. I was grateful for this because I feel like it would have weakened the book if it had. The growth of Priya and Brigid's friendship was so enjoyable to read, and I'm glad it got the time and attention it deserved. I also loved the witty banter between everyone on the group chat. They took the mick and teased each other constantly, but when someone needed it, they would all take the time to listen to each other's problems and be there for them. It was really wholesome to read, and it made me wish that I could join a group chat like that just to be a part of it all.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book if you're even the slightest bit interested in it! Further recommendations would be [[Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli] or [The Fault in Our Stars by John Green]]

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