Bored Gay Werewolf by Tony Santorella

Bored Gay Werewolf is a novel about an aimless guy who happens to be a werewolf and what happens when he meets someone trying to create what seems to be a start-up for werewolves. Brian works at a restaurant, spends his time drinking with his coworkers Nik and Darby or having Grindr hookups, and doesn’t deal well with his monthly transitions into a wolf. When he meets Tyler, who seems to have everything sorted out and is also a werewolf, maybe it is the chance Brian needs to get his life on track. Tyler’s plan for the The Pack (™) includes getting Brian in shape and in control, but it seems that Tyler’s business plans might go further than that, and meanwhile, Brian is drifting away from his friends and his previous self.

The title of this book is such a hilarious draw to read it, and it really gets across the tone, which is partly satirical, partly fun, and partly a sincere look at queer community and finding your people. I love books that integrate some kind of mythological creature into an everyday modern world and this one is a pretty funny way of doing it, exploring toxic masculinity within hustle culture and within ideas of werewolves at once (and it’s not just the name Tyler that offers hints of Fight Club). The plot turns from a slower paced slacker falls into something unexpected to a faster pace by the end, with at least one twist I didn’t see coming. I did expect the ending to be less uplifting yet ridiculous and maybe more satirical or dark, but to be honest, I think the ending does suit the book generally (and seems to set up for a potential sequel).

If we’re going through each part of the title, then the werewolf element is well-covered and fun, it’s got some classic slacker protagonist stuff, and then there’s the depiction of Brian being gay and of queerness in general, which really makes this book enjoyable. There’s lots of interesting parts of the book exploring queerness, like excessive heterosexuality of the people Brian meets through Tyler (and the ways in which Brian has to navigate the gender and sexual stereotypes that arise when he’s around these people) and the various jokes about coming out as a werewolf, and it was nice to see a non-binary friend character in adult fiction who, yes, is a bit notably quirky, but is also a rounded person.

I had a lot of fun with this book, which is like hustle culture werewolf Fight Club but the protagonist has some friends. It’s not what you’d expect from a werewolf novel and that makes it an enjoyable read, even if the ending is perhaps a little too easily resolved. Definitely one where the wild title and cover actually deliver a suitably fun book.

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