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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  3,994 ratings  ·  799 reviews
A spellbinding and darkly humorous coming-of-age story about an unusual boy whose family lives on the fringes 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
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by William Morrow
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Erin I am teaching it in a Writing about Literature course and an American Lit survey course.

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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,994 ratings  ·  799 reviews

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Will Byrnes
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the Autumn moon is bright. - from The Wolf Man 1941
It’s hard out there for a wolf.

We’ve come a long way from the classic - from Vixens and

What did you want be? As children, we all have dreams of ourselves as adults. I started out, a West Bronx local in a very concrete world, wanting to be a forest ranger, later an astronaut, later still, an aeronautical engineer, wit
Edward Lorn
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most human werewolf novel I've ever read. ...more
Sadie Hartmann
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Always feed a wolf his fill," the old woman quotes out loud, "lest you wake with your throat in his jaws.”

Until very recently, I always thought that lycanthropy was a made up condition. Human beings don't really turn into human-wolf hybrids under a full moon--ripping through their clothes and feasting on hapless prey. But I just finished Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones a few days ago, a buddy read with my pal Mindi and now I'm pretty sure Dr. Jones is an actual werewolf and he wrote this "fic
I feel bad about it, but I'll say it anyway: Mongrels didn't work that well for me.

I listened to the audio and at first I thought it was the narrators that were my problem. After a while, though, I became accustomed to their voices and they were NOT my problem.

My problem was: I didn't like it. There it is. I believe I "got" what the author was trying to do and while I admire it, in the end it just didn't work for me.

I recommend you give this one a shot if the synopsis sounds interesting to you.
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was great. I mean, there’s not a more succinct way to put it. G-R-E-A-T.

It’s a coming-of-age story about a young man who lives in a family of outlaw werewolves, and a chronicle of their travels across the impoverished and dangerous American South. I don’t know if that last sentence sells the book or not, but if it doesn't, FEAR NOT! The execution far surpasses the general conceit. This book is ENGAGING. I mean, I was rapt from the first few pages. There’s something poetic, yet effortle
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is a werewolf coming of age story that was so much fun to read. Clever chapter titles, fun little jokes you could miss if you weren't paying attention, fun twist on the beasties. ...more
Book Riot Community
The best–the best— werewolf novel I have ever read. It’s a coming-of-age story of a young boy whose family lives on the fringes of society for several reasons: they’re brown, they’re poor, oh oh and also they’re werewolves constantly on the run from the law. Come for the heartbreak, the desperation, the superglue holding this family together; stay for the tidbits about lycanthrope daily life (like why they can never, ever wear pantyhose).

–Amanda Nelson

from The Best Books We Read In May 2016: htt
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
It is always a treat to discover a novel that places new twists on old ideas. The werewolf novel has been around a long time and there really didn't seem to be much more one can say about the man-turns-wolf scenario. Yet Stephen Graham Jones doesn't just add a new twist but turns the entire concept on its head. In Mongrels we have a family of werewolves living as nomads in the south. The life of the modern day werewolf is grim, dreary and dangerous. Aunt Libby, Uncle Darren and their young nephe ...more
Frank Errington
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Review copy

Mongrels is a completely different kind of werewolf story, told from the point of view of a teenage werewolf who has yet to shift for the first time. In addition to facing the same issues teens everywhere must deal with, this one faces the uncertainty of when, or even if, he will ever change.

I love a good opening line and this one's a gem. "My grandfather used to tell me he was a werewolf." Tell me more.

Good literary horror is something to be appreciated, and when you combine that wit
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've been putting off this review because I want to make sure I can articulate just how much I loved this book and how well it's written. I'm still not sure I can do it justice. However, I now know that I love Stephen Graham Jones's writing on the same level as Cormac McCarthy and David Foster Wallace. All three have a very distinct voice, and I adore them all. I'll read anything and everything Jones publishes, and I know he has quite an extensive back catalog, so I need to get to work.

This nove
Benoit Lelièvre
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked this novel, but I think it would've worked without the werewolf theme. It's weird. I've read a review on this book by Bob Pastorella stating it was one of the best werewolf novels ever written and I believe him, it's just that there might be an entire level of meaning I just didn't get from the book.

That said, I thought MONGRELS was a solid and original coming-of-age novel, because the werewolf angle is about growing up different and shaped by a strong culture. The family dynamic of the
Jamie Stewart
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
As I read this story I couldn’t help but be reminded of Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, in that both works could be considers novel’s or collections of short stories. Mongrels is at its heart a coming of age story about an untraditional family who are constantly moving across the USA, the fact that they are a family of werewolves is merely colouring on the story. Don’t get me wrong the werewolf lore is handle well and readers are provided with multiple enjoyable stories, which I won’t spoil here, ...more
I have read SGJ before and really liked his style, but this one just wasn't for me. The writing was choppy and hard to follow. While the premise was promising and the characters were mildly interesting, it ultimately fell flat for me. Bummer. ...more
Not a plot-driven novel. Rather, it's a series of vignettes ranging over several years, related by the main character, who is part of a family of werewolves. Though, really, the main character is waiting to go through his first change into a werewolf. In the meantime, he, his aunt Libby and Uncle Darren move constantly, always trying to find a place to make some money and stay under the radar and safe. The three live on the edges of whatever small town they're in, and the main character spends m ...more
Holly (The GrimDragon)
"Werewolves, we're tough, yeah, we're made for fighting, made for hunting, can kill all night long and then some. But cars, cars are four thousand pounds of jagged metal, and, pushing a hundred miles per hour now, the world a blur of regret--there's only one result, really.

And, if a bad-luck cop sees you slide past the billboard he's hiding behind, well, then it's on, right? If he stops you, you're going to chew through him in two bites, which, instead of making the problem go away, will just mu
Tracy Robinson
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“It feels like whispers. It sounds like smiling. It smells like teeth” – Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels

At once a book about a family of werewolves and a discussion of growing as “other” in our society, Mongrels is a compelling read. I have had this book on my shelf for a little while and I decided to pick it up after it was selected for the Summer Scares library program developed by the Horror Writers Association (HWA), United for Libraries, Book Riot, and Library Journal/School Library Journal
The Grim Reader
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've actually had this book on my Kindle for a long time. Reviews and other commitments have somehow managed to get in the way of me reading it. Finally, earlier this year I took time out from the review list and read something for me! This is something I will be doing a lot more of in the coming months.

Much has been written and said about this particular book, about just how good it is and I went in wondering if I would be as impressed as others. Well, it is safe to say that Mr Jones has delive
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Stephen Graham Jones has romped through a dizzying variety of genres in his novels and short fiction. Drama, crime, horror, science fiction, bizarro, and sometimes a strange mash-up of any or all of the above—the list of his chameleonic literary contributions goes on and on, with the common denominator being that he does it all really, really well.

In his latest novel, Mongrels, Mr. Jones takes a well-worn supernatural trope—the werewolf—and subsequently weaves a coming-of-age tale that is powerf
Damien Angelica Walters
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is my second favorite read of 2016 thus far. It's so much more than a werewolf story. It's about the strength of family, about being an outsider, about trying to stay safe in a world that will kill you because of who you are. ...more
Audra (ouija.reads)
(full review on my blog here:

There’s nothing new to say about werewolves. Silver bullets, pentagrams on the palm, sudden urges for rare steak, howling, full moon transformations, bloodthirsty beasts rampaging about. We’ve seen it all, right?

Well, think again. As Jones, veteran speculative fiction writer, shows, there’s plenty more to tell, plenty more waiting to burst through to the surface. And some of what we think we know might need to be rewritten.

Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight)
4.5 Stars

This. This was the werewolf book I'd been looking for. It was messed up and beautiful and brutal and touching and I loved it.

This was one of those books where the characters were so completely different from myself, their lives so different (and I love those kinds of books because they let me see through a whole new perspective). They didn't have enough money for food half the time and had to hunt it down or steal it. They bounced around from place to place, living in falling apa
Kurt Dinan
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have a small number of books I wish I could read again for the first time. Mongrels is now on that list. Jones does something special here, something risky and creative and brilliant that you just have to experience instead of me lessening it by trying to explain it to you. But I haven't read anything this fully formed and creative in a long, long time. It's humbling when you read something you know you never could have written, could never dream of writing, and Mongrels humbled me. Great, gre ...more
I struggled with this one. It was ok. I'd give this author another try. ...more
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.0 Stars
This was a well written novel with an interesting interpretation of the werewolf lore. I personally did not connect with the narrative because I tend to enjoy more plot driven stories. The audiobook narration was good, but this simple was my kind of horror story.
Shane Douglas Douglas
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
***Excerpt from my review on Gingernuts of Horror***

Stephen Graham Jones' newest novel, Mongrels, is one of those works of fiction that, when you finish it, you have to take some time and compose your thoughts before writing about it. It's extraordinarily well written, which isn't surprising coming from Jones, and it has all the elements of a great story, also not surprising given the source, but those aren't the things that give you pause when talking ab
Michael J.
I read this with the Horror Afficionados community as part of a group read for June. I'm going to let my comments from that forum serve as my review. For those who don't want to read all my ramblings, I recommend you check this book out if you like this author and/or want to read a new take on werewolf legends.
I started today, and finished the first chapter (28 pages). I'm all in. Even without the horror themes, it's a very well-written coming-of-age story with a lot of character - - 8 y
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
This one did not work for me: I found it insipid to large extent because of the book's format as a series of disconnected stories. An interesting perspective on werewolves, following the plight of a family constantly crossing the southern U.S. to stay ahead of the law and hostile neighbors. Decent underlying themes, such as coming of age, being a societal outcast, and what constitutes animal versus human behavior, but I felt no connection with the characters. ...more
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Masterful and enthralling, Mongrels dusts off a legendary creature, recasts it brilliantly, and shoves it howling down your throat.

Stunning, absolutely stunning.

My full review can be found here:
Ashley Daviau
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This might just be the best werewolf novel I’ve ever read. Actually, scratch that, it IS the best werewolf novel I’ve ever read and I have read a lot, I’m just a bit obsessed with the idea of lycanthropy. This book is just unlike ANY werewolf novel I’ve read, it almost completely reinvents the werewolf myth and I couldn’t have loved it more. I just love the way the story was presented with a mix of a dysfunctional yet loving family, a strangely touching coming of age story and werewolf mythology ...more
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Stephen Graham Jones is the NYT bestselling author of twenty-five or thirty books. He really likes werewolves and slashers. Favorite novels change daily, but Valis and Love Medicine and Lonesome Dove and It and The Things They Carried are all usually up there somewhere. Stephen lives in Boulder, Colorado. It's a big change from the West Texas he grew up in. He's married with a couple kids, and pro ...more

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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