One of POPSUGAR's Best YA Books of April
Kids’ Indie Next List Pick for Spring 2021
A SIBA Read This Next Selection for Spring 2021
Teen Wolf meets Emergency Contact in this sharply observed, hilarious, and heartwarming debut young adult novel about friendship, chronic illness, and . . . werewolves.
Priya worked hard to pursue her premed dreams at Stanford, but a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease during her sophomore year sends her back to her loving but overbearing family in New Jersey—and leaves her wondering if she’ll ever be able to return to the way things were.
Thankfully she has her online pen pal, Brigid, and the rest of the members of “oof ouch my bones,” a virtual support group that meets on Discord to crack jokes and vent about their own chronic illnesses.
When Brigid suddenly goes offline, Priya does something out of character: she steals the family car and drives to Pennsylvania to check on Brigid. Priya isn’t sure what to expect, but it isn’t the horrifying creature that's shut in the basement.
With Brigid nowhere to be found, Priya begins to puzzle together an impossible but obvious truth: the creature might be a werewolf—and the werewolf might be Brigid. As Brigid's unique condition worsens, their friendship will be deepened and challenged in unexpected ways, forcing them to reckon with their own ideas of what it means to be normal.
Indian American premed student Priya Radhakrishnan is just back for her sophomore year at Stanford when she begins to feel ill, then is diagnosed with Lyme disease. Forced to drop out of school and recuperate back home in New Jersey, Priya is frustrated by her loss of independence as well as lethargy, brain fog, and joint pain. Her close online friendship with another woman, tan 20-year-old Brigid with whom she joins a chronic illness support group provides Priya with welcome camaraderie and understanding. When Bridge's frequent, chatty messages suddenly stop, Priya learns that Bridge is actually a werewolf, and her agonizing transformations are becoming increasingly erratic and dangerous. O'Neal persuasively pulls from her own experience with chronic illness to inform her depiction of the topic, using interactions between support group members to layer comedic banter and vulnerability that specifically addresses aspects of disability experiences. While the race to help Bridge control her symptoms propels the plot, it is Priya's growing ability to mourn what she's lost while celebrating what she has gained community, true friendship, and a new perspective on her professional goals that make it memorable. Ages 14 up.
A fantastic debut!!
Absolutely riveting — I didn’t want to put this down until I was done, and I basically didn’t. Unique, compelling, an incredible ensemble cast and even better leads. Priya and Brigid’s relationship is such a powerful driving force. The werewolf lore is so fun and such a cool take on the myth. This is a love letter to the age of internet friendship and it will absolutely resonate with anyone who has ever had chronic illness or chronic pain or “invisible” illnesses. I didn’t want it to end, but at the same time the ending felt so earned and perfectly paced, like this story knew exactly what it needed to be. What a debut!!!