Jane Doe is a weredeer, the least-threatening shapechanger species in the world. Blessed with the ability to turn furry at will and psychically read objects, Jane has done her best to live a normal life working as a waitress at the Deerlightful Diner. She has big dreams of escaping life in the supernatural-filled town of Bright Falls, Michigan, and her eighteenth birthday promises the beginning of her teenage dreams coming true.
Unfortunately, her birthday is ruined by the sudden murder of her best friend’s sister in an apparent occult killing. Oh, and her brother is the primary suspect. Allying with an eccentric FBI agent, the local crime lord, and a snarky werecrow, Jane has her work cut out for her in turning her big day around.
Thankfully, she’s game.
I wasn’t sure that I would like this book because the premise just seemed so completely corny and yet….I enjoyed it a lot, in part because it embraced its corniness wholeheartedly. And not only that, but it embraces tropes wholeheartedly as well.
I love the main character, Jane Doe, who is just snarky enough for an urban fantasy heroine. She doesn’t really want to get involved in everything, but when her brother’s life is on the line she can’t help but involve herself. I really think the strength of the book lies with its characters and their interactions with one another. I enjoyed all the back and forth banter quite a lot and I think the dialogue was great. I loved that some characters that started out as kind of annoying grew on me over time as you got to know them better. That’s tough to do in such a short book, but it was done well here. Having characters that are multi-layered is such a huge thing for me.
The setting was great. I’m not sure why but I feel like I’m either reading a lot of stories set in Michigan lately or that are written by folks from Michigan… Anyway, the setting felt very real to me, the way the town was described and the folks living there, the rampant drug use and the way the high school kids acted. It could be a million small to mid-sized towns all over this country and I’m sure a lot of folks will relate. Well, except most of us don’t have shapeshifters living next door. (At least, I don’t think so…)
I do think there were a couple of things that felt inconsistent, almost like continuity errors in a film. I had to go back a couple of times because I was like ‘wait a minute, didn’t they say x? Why are they now saying y?’ but I moved past those moments pretty quickly as the fun tone of the book (despite some pretty horrific things happening the overall tone remained light) kept the story going strong for me.
Overall, I Was a Teenage Weredeer is a fun book, fully aware of itself and its place within the genre. I loved the way the authors embraced the tropes and played with them to make something familiar both new and fun. I think it could have been slightly more polished, but I don’t really have any huge complaints. I’ll definitely pick up the next book in this series. 3.5/5 stars.
I was given a copy of this book for review purposes. This did not in any way effect my opinion of the book or my review.