NOMINATED FOR THE SHIRLEY JACKSON AWARD • NOMINATED FOR THE BRAM STOKER AWARD
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2016 BY TOR.COM AND BOOK RIOT
A spellbinding and darkly humorous coming-of-age story about an unusual boy, whose family lives on the fringe of society and struggles to survive in a hostile world that shuns and fears them.
He was born an outsider, like the rest of his family. Poor yet resilient, he lives in the shadows with his aunt Libby and uncle Darren, folk who stubbornly make their way in a society that does not understand or want them. They are mongrels, mixed blood, neither this nor that. The boy at the center of Mongrels must decide if he belongs on the road with his aunt and uncle, or if he fits with the people on the other side of the tracks.
For ten years, he and his family have lived a life of late-night exits and narrow escapes—always on the move across the South to stay one step ahead of the law. But the time is drawing near when Darren and Libby will finally know if their nephew is like them or not. And the close calls they’ve been running from for so long are catching up fast now. Everything is about to change.
A compelling and fascinating journey, Mongrels alternates between past and present to create an unforgettable portrait of a boy trying to understand his family and his place in a complex and unforgiving world. A smart and innovative story— funny, bloody, raw, and real—told in a rhythmic voice full of heart, Mongrels is a deeply moving, sometimes grisly, novel that illuminates the challenges and tender joys of a life beyond the ordinary in a bold and imaginative new way.
In this lyrical but meandering novel, Jones (After the People Lights Have Gone Off) delicately portrays the coming of age of a young boy growing up in a family of werewolves. Throughout the novel, the unnamed narrator and his aunt, Libby, and uncle, Darren, both werewolves, wander the present-day American South working low-wage jobs while always wary of the dangers of staying in one place for too long and being recognized for what they really are. The narrator's voice is heartfelt and absorbing as he learns the rules of being a werewolf while always wondering whether he will become one himself, a question that drives the story to its moving conclusion. There are jailbreaks and various battles, including one with a bear, alongside several encounters with other werewolves. While the episodic structure sometimes causes the novel to feel as aimless as its characters, it's still an often moving portrait of a family struggling to survive in a world that "wants us to be monsters."