Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sandy Morrison and the Pack of Pussies by Zoe E. Whitten

Title: Sandy Morrison and the Pack of Pussies
Series: Sandy Morrison
Author: Zoe E. Whitten
Length: 3673 Kindle units
Rating: 4 stars

The Plot

Sandy is thrilled when she gets invited to cheerleader Trisha’s graduation party, because people don’t usually invite the “she” who used to be a “he” anywhere. But when the cheerleaders play a cruel prank on Sandy, she gets upset and jumps off the water tower – and then catches herself in mid-air. Turns out that Sandy is a witch, which is unfortunate because her best friend Maggie is a werecat, and the two species have been at war for as long as anyone can remember. Like, kill on sight kind of war. So if Sandy and her friends want to keep her alive, they have to move fast.

The Good

In a genre of cookie-cutter Bella-esque heroines, Sandy Morrison stands out as unique. I confess that I don’t know a lot about transgender people, so it was cool to read from the perspectives of someone going through the transition and the people around her. But I think in a book like this it would be easy to make Sandy’s being transgender the only interesting thing about her, and I really like how that is not the case. Sandy is brave and determined but also forgiving of people. She likes to go to parties and dance and have fun. And she owns a Star Trek uniform from every series.

I think one of the big themes of the book is that no one is “just” anyone. Kyle is a former druggie/sex addict who has reformed his life and was studying to be a computer programmer. Maggie defies cheerleader stereotypes but still loves being on the squad. And Trisha learns that she could be more than just a shallow rich girl.

I’m actually sitting here thinking about the great themes in this book, and it’s making me cry a little. So, points, because I think this is only the second book I’ve reviewed that’s made me cry.

The Bad

The book was slow to get started. Everything hinged upon this prank that Trisha decided to pull on Sandy, which basically consisted of Trisha trying to get Sandy to make out with Kyle. First off, I’m not entirely sure how what actually happens is Trisha’s fault, since other than inviting both of them to the party, she didn’t do anything to hook them up. If anything, she warned Kyle off. Secondly, I’m not so clear on what the big deal is about getting caught making out with someone you like. I mean, yes, Trisha said she posted the pictures on the internet, which was kind of mean, but she seemed to think the prank was just as bad without that extra step. So the whole thing didn’t make tons of sense.

Also, the werecats in the book turn into large housecats. It is established that they are quite dangerous, but they still look like your neighbor’s tabby. And there is this scene where four werecats come and attack three humans in an outdoor setting. Picture this scene with a straight face if you can, for I certainly cannot.

And the end is just weird. It’s from the point of view of a totally new character that adds a whole new twist to the mythology. I understand that the idea was to create a cliffhanger ending, but I think narratively the thing would have worked better as an introduction to the second work. It could have been a great vehicle for summing up the first novel.

The Romance

Oh, the romance. How to even begin? I think the best word for it is “non-traditional.” There was a lot of sexual experimentation going on among the characters, and many of them question their own sexualities. The book is also unique that instead of having a pair of people who are “supposed to be together” or even a love triangle, there are a group of people forming a triad, and it was interesting to watch that dynamic develop.

Will I read more?

Probably not, but not for any of the reasons I mentioned above. Sandy Morrison was very gritty. I felt like I was reading about the seedy underbelly of high school life, where kids drugged each other for pranks and physically assaulted people who were different. Not that I think those things don’t happen. I think they DO happen, which is why it’s extra upsetting to read about. (I read books about teens with supernatural powers. Too much reality upsets me.) There was also a lot of explicit dialogue about sexual experimentation going on, and I think if I stuck around for the series, it would likely get into some ménage a trois action. And though I have no personal objection to sexual experimentation or threesomes or anything that consenting adults choose to do in the privacy of their own homes, these are not necessarily things that I want to read about.

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  1. First, thanks so much for reading my book, and for taking the time to post a review. I noticed your concerns for not reading the next book in the series and wanted you to know, there is no sex in the next book, not in a twosome, or a threesome. The series may remain somewhat gritty, so I would understand your reasons for not wanting to read another book in the series. But I can assure you that while there would be hints of sexuality just as there was in this book, there will be no sex. The might be sex in the third book, but I was thinking of using a fade to black to avoid being too graphic and spilling over YA into A.

    Again, thank you very much for the review. Even if you don't read the rest of the series, I'm glad you took the time to read Sandy's first story.

  2. Sounds interesting, a bit different and different is good. :)

    1. It is interesting and definitely off the traditional path in a good way. If you don't mind gritty, I definitely recommend checking it out!