Review: Becoming Alpha by Aileen Erin

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Publisher: Ink Monster
Publishing Date: November 2013
ISBN:9780989405010
Genre: Fantasy/ YA
Rating: 3.8/5.0

Publisher Description: One stupid party. One stupid boy. One stupid kiss. And my life was virtually over.

Review: This novel was purely made for the Teen/YA crowd. I didn’t really connect and/or sympathize with Tessa and her constant insecure reactions to peers at her school(s). I remember high school pretty well, and although it sucked, I don’t remember the girls running around bitch fighting for every guy morsel. Tessa’s internal dialogue is never constant or consistent. It ranges from the manic insecure to the goo goo ga ga, head over heals in love with Mr. “muscles rippling beneath his shirt” then back to jealous chick with a stiff spine whom fights those bitches and leads charges against vampires….then back to “OMG how did I get here, I am so frail and weak, please take care of me??”.

So as a main character, Tessa was under-developed and overly emotive, as was Dastien. I think there was too much of the story invested into developing Tessa, as a heroine when she would have been fine finding inner-discovery as the action progressed. At times we have a main character that is at the same time conflicted/resolute, insecure/dominant, shy/angry, lusty/spinster and whiny/agreeable. I get that teenagers have inconsistent emotions with regard to love/life, but it tends to wear a bit as you follow those rampant emotions throughout the course of a novel. Tessa, as introduced, was a bit conflicted and unsure of her ability and was actually pretty fun to read about. She had cool T-shirts, liked certain bands, was into her own perspective and had parents who were supportive. I was looking forward to this character become someone whom discovers her place in the world of magic and were-wolves while retaining that core wit and ambivalence. The most interesting characters were the sub-characters around them. Her friends, enemies and teachers at Albien; Meredith, Chris, Mr. Dawson etc. give you just enough insight into their psyche to fully render them while leaving room for the unknown.

The cover art depicts Tessa wearing a dress with little gloves on. She should be wearing jeans, a cool T-shirt and a mussed up look. I did like the end of the book with a different cover art perspective on Tessa. Inventive.

I really liked the overall story-line. Tessa and the school with outside influences wreaking havoc. The vampires were great. Floating, decaying evil with poisonous saliva. I like that Tessa’s cousins are getting involved and look forward to seeing them developed in subsequent novels. As much as I am not in to heavy teen angst novels, I could not put this one down. It was fun to read, even wading through the “ripply muscle” content. I attribute this to the authors ability to craft prose in such a way that the story lends itself to desirable outcomes. Keeps you interested in that way, even though sometimes those outcomes are predictable.

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