By Maggie Stiefvater.
When she was a kid, Grace got attacked and bitten by the wolves near her house. She recovered from the experience, but has always been fascinated with one yellow-eyed wolf in particular that rescued her from the others. Every winter they stare at each other.
Those wolves in the woods are werewolves, and Grace's particular wolf is Sam. In human form he's 18 years old and got bitten as a child. In this world, werewolves don't constantly shape-change--it's entirely dependent on the weather. When it gets too cold (around freezing?), they turn wolfy and don't go back to being human again until temperatures warm up. So for the summers, they're human...but it eventually needs to be hotter and hotter for them to turn human, and after awhile they just lose their ability to go human altogether. Sam knows its his last year for humanity, and after he gets shot in the woods, he turns human again one last time even though it's fall. This is when he finally gets to meet Grace, and they fall instantly in love.
At the same time, one of the kids at Grace's school, Jack, got attacked and killed by wolves. And yet, the body's gone and his sister Isabel has seen him in the woods, as has Grace's photographer friend Olivia. The general public is getting very anti-wolf and folks want to go out and start shooting the wolves. Uh-oh. Meanwhile, those involved in the story are wondering how Grace somehow never did become a werewolf. Is there a cure for it? And if there is, can anyone survive the cure?
I found this to be kind of a problematic book. On the one hand, the romance is great and done well. You buy Grace and Sam's insta-attraction to each other, plus they actually do spend a lot of time getting to know each other and well, sleeping over (Grace's parents are generally rather oblivious). So if you're into teen love, it works really well. And to some degree, the mysteries of a werewolf cure, and how Isabel is handling this werewolf revelation, and how Jack is handling it (not well), is pretty compelling. You can probably guess the mystery of where the other werewolves are coming from yourself, but the shock of it also works.
On the other hand, the Our Werewolves Are Different aspect of it just came off weird and kind of inexplicable to me. Nobody seems too clear on how it works, or how people "just know" it's their last year. Or why Sam has only about 10 years of changing while the "human" pack leader Beck has been doing it for 20 before he loses it. I was confused as to whether or not Paul (the wolf pack leader) had lost his humanity entirely by now or not. And why it is that temperature change does it and why moving to Texas doesn't work because if you walk by an air-conditioned door, you'll suddenly go wolfy? The "cure" is an interesting method of handling the situation, I think, but mostly I just found it all awkward and strange. Not to mention how well anyone can live as a human when they are only able to do so about 3 months out of the year. I was surprised that Sam managed to have a driver's license. It sounds like Beck made enough money lawyering before he went wolfy to uh...live on savings and support the entire wolf pack with them every summer? Is he working as a lawyer only 3 months out of the year? How is he getting away with that? It just...didn't sound like it would work too well on a practical level in some ways.
And I also didn't like how the lone female werewolf, Shelby, is just totally crazy and insisting on being alpha female and mating with Sam whether he wants it or not. I felt like she'd wandered out of an Anita Blake novel by mistake. She didn't fit with the other characters and sad abusive backstory aside, I didn't like having such a stereotypical crazy evil female character. Ugh.
Overall, I'll give it three and a half stars. It works on the romance factor, but I found the werewolfiness to be problematic enough for it to bug me.