Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
I’ve loved Maggie Stiefvater’s books, especially her fairy books and her Raven Cycle. Her attention to language and avoidance of clichés put her head and shoulders above most YA writers. Her werewolf books, though, are not my favorites of her novels. This latest one seems even more like typical YA subject matter than any of her other books. It’s about a rock star (who’s a recovering addict and a werewolf) making a comeback through a reality show and falling in love with a regular girl. The supernatural stuff is a much smaller part of the story here than in any of her other books, which puts extra focus on the romance. Both Cole and Isabel are very jaded and insecure and prickly; sometimes it’s hard to tell what they see in each other. Isabel doubts Cole’s recovery, and gets jealous of fangirls in a way that’s annoying, but somewhat understandable. This dynamic sets Isabel up to be kind of a shrew. It’s a fantasy about a damaged artist who saves himself through music, assiduous courtship, and being unbearably cool, and a girl who learns to open her heart when worn down with enough devotion and charm. I was vaguely uncomfortable with some of the Beauty-and-the-Beast aspects of the story, but not so much so that I couldn’t enjoy the prose. It’s not Stiefvater’s best, but it’s better than most YA.