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I will howl for you, human boy, she thought. I will hunt you in my girl skin but I'll celebrate as wolf.
Vivian Gandillon
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Back in 1997, well before the world got its hands on Twilight, supernatural romances for teens were not really the biggest genre out there. One of the more notable of the titles was Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause, who also wrote a vampire novel before this one.

The novel revolves around 16-year-old Vivian Gandillon, pretty much a normal high school outsider... who happens to be a werewolf. Though her family once lived in a secluded town where they could all be themselves, they were forced to flee in exile when one of their pack accidentally murdered a human. It is the only rule they hold sacred, the rule that protects them from discovery and extinction. So now they are scattered across a small town, mingling with humanity. Vivian also lost her father in the move, and struggles to hold herself and her mother together.

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For the first time, she attends a normal school, and there she meets a human boy, Aiden. He is quirky, an outsider like her. And she finds his kindness a refreshing change of pace from her squabbling pack mates. Her family of werewolves is leaderless with her father dead, and the battle for succession is fearsome. Vivian finds herself unwittingly drawn into the center of the leadership quarrel, and in the sights of a werewolf who would like to call her his own.

Torn between the human world and that of the pack, Vivian struggles to find herself and where she belongs. What does she want more, blood or chocolate?

There was a film version released in theaters in 2007 that is unfortunately In Name Only. Not related to the Elvis Costello album of the same name.


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Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Astrid really doesn't seem to care just how much she hurts her son Ulf emotionally.
  • Accidental Murder:
    • Gabriel's friend Bucky accidentally goes into a bloodlust and kills another member of the pack during the fight to determine the new alpha.
    • It's revealed that Gabriel himself was guilty of this; while making love with his human girlfriend he inadvertently phased, causing her to panic and attack him. Gabriel lost control and lashed out at her. Gabriel states that if she'd been a werewolf she could've shrugged off the injury, but being human it killed her.
  • Action Girl: Many female werewolves are this by default, although Vivian herself is shown to be a skilled fighter despite her youth, being able to best the Five and Astrid (who is decades older).
  • Age-Gap Romance: The loups-garoux appear to have looser attitudes towards this compared to most humans in the 1990s United States.
    • Esme and Astrid are both in their late 30's or early 40's, yet are attracted to 24 year old Gabriel, with Astrid actively competing to become his mate, though this is partly because he's the most likely candidate to become the pack's next leader. Vivian disgustedly points out the age-gap to her mother, though Esme states Gabriel is still a man rather than a boy and it's indicated Vivian is more upset about Esme acting like a Smitten Teenage Girl when she's a grown woman and that she's trying to move on from Vivian's late father.
    • People find Astrid being in a sexual relationship with Rafe, who is of a similar age with her teenage son, a bit weird and distasteful, but not seriously wrong.
    • 24 year old Gabriel romantically pursues Vivian, who is eight years younger than him at 16. She spends most of the novel rejecting him in favor of Aiden, a boy from her school but in the end she happily agrees to become his mate, realizing he can understand and accept her more than Aiden ever could.
  • The Alcoholic: Rafe's father Lucian has taken up drinking, especially after his wife dies in the same attack that kills Vivian's father.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Downplayed. Upon finding out that Vivian knows the Five, Aiden's female friends (save for Kelly, who makes a biting remark about them) admit to finding them cute, although they never formally meet or interact later on.
  • Alpha Bitch: Kelly is a Goth version, having a Girl Posse of "gigglers" and is even described as the "head bitch" in Vivian's internal monologues (based on pack mentality). Her behavior towards Vivian could also be called condescending at best.
  • Always a Child to Parent: Vivian notes that, despite all the Goth trappings in Kelly's room, her mom still makes her bed with pink sheets.
  • Always Identical Twins: Willem and Finn Wagner are identical twin brothers.
  • Amazon Chaser: Aiden admires Vivian's strength and confidence, and even affectionately calls her an Amazon.
  • An Aesop: Real love is about loving someone for who they are, rather than your idea of who they are.
  • Arranged Marriage: Of a sort. The female werewolf who wins the 'Bitches Dance' (a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown) becomes the new Alpha's mate. Most female werewolves knowingly enter the fight in the hopes of becoming the Alpha's mate; however Vivian accidentally wins the fight when she unthinkingly steps in to protect her mother from Astrid. To her horror, she is announced to be Gabriel's (the new pack leader) mate. In the end Vivian falls for Gabriel and happily accepts becoming his mate.
  • Artists Are Attractive: Goes both ways with Vivian and Aiden; she admires his werewolf poem while he likes her paintings. Their relationship is triggered by the two of them seeing their art side-by-side in a school magazine. Unfortunately, they both find out the hard way that simply liking each other's art doesn't give you full insight into a person.
  • Betty and Veronica: Aiden and Gabriel, respectively, for Vivian. Gabriel is the front runner for Alpha of the pack, and a bit of a tough guy, while Aiden is a more sensitive poet. A Betty and Veronica Switch comes into play when Aiden's racism comes into play, and Gabriel turns out to have a more caring side.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Three innocent people, including Vivian's human friend Peter, were murdered by Astrid and Rafe; they both get killed so the killings will stop and Vivian is exonerated, although the victims' families will never know what happened to them and it's unfortunate for Rafe and Astrid's families that things turned out this way. Aiden and Vivian break up and will never see each other again; Vivian knows they would never have worked out but still regrets how badly things ended and fears Aiden has been traumatized by his experiences with werewolves. Aiden has to live with the knowledge that werewolves are real and that he may never know what happened to Vivian, whom he regrets accidentally shooting; he may also have to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. On the brighter side, the pack's fortunes are looking up now they have a new home and a strong leader in Gabriel; Vivian also happily agrees to become Gabriel's mate and is finally content with her life.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ulf, Astrid's son and the more submissive one of the Five. Not only does he have a massively bitchy mother who ends up dating his friend who also takes advantage of him but he becomes an orphan when she and Rafe are killed after the reveal that they were the ones randomly murdering humans to set Vivian up.
  • Chekhov's Gun: About midway through the story, when Aiden brings Vivian over to his house to meet his family, he shows her his basement where his dad makes his own bullets for hunting; he also mentions his dad sometimes drags him along. In the climax, Aiden reveals he used his father's equipment to make two silver bullets; he initially intends to kill Vivian and ends up killing Rafe.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: A major theme/plot point is Vivian learning to come to terms with her dual nature and finding out who she truly is.
  • Cool Old Guy: Orlando Griffin, the eldest werewolf in the pack, and one of the more level-headed ones.
  • Cool Uncle: Vivian's uncle helped the pack evacuate the burning ranch and relocate, sheltering them in the aftermath. The pack actually wants him to be the new alpha out of gratitude, but he'd rather someone else have the job.
  • The Corruptor: In retrospect Rafe was the one who get the rest of The Five to kill a girl in order to give their friend Axel an alibi, and later on he's willing to commit a lot more murders, while one of his friends is horrified after finding out.
  • Creepy Child: Vivian finds Gabriel's triplet little sisters to be a little unnerving.
  • Daddy's Girl: Vivian was very close to her late father and greatly admires him; she gets upset if she thinks anyone is insulting his memory.
  • Dirty Cop: The local sheriff covered up the arson that killed Vivian's father, Rafe's mother and several others (which was set by friends of his). The pack is bitter about this, but acknowledge that it also eliminates any complications towards them getting the insurance money for the ranch.
  • Dirty Old Man: Aiden's father has shades of this, practically drooling toward Vivian and not so subtly trying to flirt with her when they're alone.
  • Downer Beginning: The novel opens with the pack's home being burned down, forcing them to flee for their lives, while Vivian's father is killed trying to save some pack members. A year later, the pack is still restless and unsettled, and Vivian feels isolated and angry with everyone as she continues to mourn her father.
  • Driven to Suicide: Vivian briefly intends to kill herself due to believing she had killed several humans. Luckily, the truth behind the murders and the real culprit comes out before she can go through with it.
  • Embarrassing Cover Up: When the police arrive to question Vivian as a suspect in vandalizing Kelly's room (and possibly a murder that happened a few streets away) Gabriel claims that Vivian was at his place, having sex and they kept Bucky up with the noise.
  • Eye Scream: During the Bitch's Dance, Vivian tears out one of Astrid's eyes.
  • False Soulmate: Aiden tells Vivian he believes she's his soulmate, because she understands him better than anyone else and never judges him. Vivian starts to wonder if it's true and does think she's in love with Aiden, so she decides to reveal to him that she's a werewolf, believing he will accept her unconditionally. It does not go well. Vivian comes to realize she and Aiden were both in love with their idea of each other and she decides to be with Gabriel, a fellow werewolf who loves all of Vivian and helps her to accept herself.
  • Foreshadowing: Aiden talks with Vivian about his father forcing him to go on hunting trips; he expresses his dislike of hunting and his inability to bond with his father over killing things. Vivian herself recalls how much she loved hunting with her late father and would give anything to hunt with him again. This foreshadows Vivian and Aiden don't have as much in common as they believe and are fundamentally incompatible as a couple.
  • Frame-Up: Rafe and Astrid try to frame Vivian for killing several humans due to Astrid's vengeful nature and Rafe feeling scorned.
  • Girl Posse: Goth Alpha Bitch Kelly is accompanied by a group of unnamed interchangeable sidekicks who Vivian calls "the gigglers", although they come across as being noticeably nicer than their leader.
  • Hate Sink: Both Astrid and Kelly manage to serve as these for the werewolves and the humans, respectively. Astrid is an abusive mother constantly pursuing men half her age and turns murderous after Vivian unintentionally beats her in the Bitches' Match after she jumped Esme which gets her killed by Gabriel. Kelly is an Alpha Bitch running on spite and jealousy that turns her downright unpleasant toward Vivian yet she still ends up getting what she wants in the end.
  • A House Divided: Vivian's pack is not of one mind on whether to seek revenge against the humans or simply accept their losses and move on.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Some of the werewolves enjoy the idea of hunting humans, although the pack as a whole forbids this as it endangers them by drawing unnecessary attention (plus some werewolves have more empathy for humans). Axel losing control and killing a human girl is what started the pack's troubles, forcing them to abandon their home and resulting in several deaths, including their leader, when the local humans retaliated. In the second half of the story, a werewolf begins killing humans in the pack's new town and Vivian starts getting amnesia and waking up covered in blood...
  • Interspecies Romance: Between Aiden, a human, and Vivian, a werewolf (werewolves here are explicitly stated to be separate though likely related species). It's hinted at and eventually confirmed that Gabriel was once in a relationship with a human girl, which ended very badly.
  • It's All My Fault: Vivian partly blames herself for the attack on the pack's home and the death of several members, including her father, because she didn't tell him about how wild and reckless Axel had become due to having a crush on him. He then killed a human girl and was witnessed changing from wolf to human, leading to a mob attacking the pack.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Aiden gets away with the death of Rafe and shooting Vivian as well as spreading lies about her, but it's a rather necessary case due to keeping the pack a secret. The only real punishment he gets (aside from the loss of his best friend) is that he'll never know just what happens to Vivian. Rafe was also an Asshole Victim and would likely have been killed by the pack anyway for helping Astrid murder humans.
    • Kelly also never gets her comeuppance for treating Vivian poorly except for her room being trashed. She even gets to keep Aiden in the end.
  • Literary Allusion Title: To the novel Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. It also features a quote from the book before the first chapter:
    "In fear I hurried this way and that. I had the taste of blood and chocolate in my mouth, the one as hateful as the other."
  • The Lost Lenore: Gabriel's human girlfriend. He accidentally killed her after inadvertently transforming in front of her, causing them both to panic.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Vivian wrestles with her affection for Aiden and her growing appreciation for Gabriel; meanwhile, her childhood friend Rafe is in love with her, but willing to settle for the crazy and reckless Astrid, who has her sights on Gabriel so she can be the new alpha's consort. And then there's Aiden's friend Kelly who is jealous of Vivian. In the end, Rafe and Astrid are killed for their multiple murders by Aiden and Gabriel respectively. Aiden breaks up with Vivian when she reveals herself and Kelly wastes no times snatching him right up which leaves Vivian and Gabriel free to purse their relationship further.
  • Loving a Shadow: Eventually, Vivian realises she was more in love with the concept of Aiden and in particular the idea he would accept her for what she is, than the guy himself. Unlike typical case, this happens after they have been in a relationship, not at the start of it.
  • Malicious Slander: Aiden uses a lot of this to turn their mutual friends against Vivian once they break up after he finds out she's a werewolf.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Vivian means "lively" and she's characterized as passionate and free-spirited. In addition to the obvious, another female protagonist's name means "(eternal) life"...
    • Vivian’s surname, Gandillon, refers to a historical case of a French family accused of and executed for lycanthropy in the 1500s. Considering that Vivian’s family has French roots and were said to have fled to America during a period of “werewolf hysteria,” it’s entirely possible the author intended to imply the survivors were her ancestors.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Alpha fights: widely announced, pretty standard dominance fare. Alpha mate fights: no warning, no challenge, straight to No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Notably, males must be at least twenty one years of age to engage in the Ordeal. Females, on the other hand, only need to be sixteen...
  • Mrs. Robinson: Astrid, who is in her late 30's/40's, seems to have a thing for younger men; she aggressively pursues Gabriel (who is 24) and then begins a relationship with Rafe, who is her teenage son's peer.
  • Muggle-and-Magical Love Triangle: Vivian has to choose between Gabriel (werewolf) and Aiden (human). In the end she chooses Gabriel...partly because Aiden freaked out and tried to kill her when he learned she's a werewolf.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Rafe hopes to kill Aiden, though whether it's because he wants Vivian or because his relationship with Astrid has driven him to it is left unclear.
  • Neck Snap: How Gabriel kills Astrid as punishment for her crimes in the end.
  • Non Human Lover Reveal: Vivian eventually reveals her true form to Aiden. He doesn't take it well.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Aiden spreads lies that he and Vivian broke up because she was a Clingy Jealous Girl who became violent when rejected. However, when she learns he's now dating Kelly, Vivian's response is to break into Kelly's room and trash it, and she even briefly considers attacking Kelly (though she quickly comes back to her senses).
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The werewolves of the novel are their own species, separate from humanity. They call themselves homo lupus. The mystics in the pack believe they are children of a moon goddess, while the more scientific-minded believe they split from humanity millions of years ago, perhaps evolving from a mutant strain of small mammals. The full moon forces them to transform into their wolf form, whether they want to or not... But otherwise, they can change forms at will.
  • Parents as People: A mild version of this is in play with Vivian's mother, Esme. She's the widow of the pack's former leader and flirts openly with a man quite a bit younger than her before happily settling for Tomas as well as acts more like Vivian's sister much of the time. However, Esme has very humanizing moments when she pulls out the pictures of Ivan because she was in tears due to having forgotten what his face looks like and reveals that she still very much loves her husband despite her insistence on moving on.
  • Perky Goth: Most of Aiden's fellow Goths are artistic, approachable, and mellow for most of the book (until being told malicious lies about Vivian), and she refers to some of them as "the gigglers."
  • The Power of Love: A kiss from Gabriel is what it takes to break Vivian's Shape Shifter Mode Lock.
  • Rejected Marriage Proposal: A bizarre inversion of sorts, combined with Accidental Proposal. Vivian inadvertently wins the Bitches Dance, a fight between the females of the pack where the victor becomes the new pack leader's mate. Vivian wasn't actually participating and only gets involved to protect her mother, but as a result she's declared the winner. The pack leader, Gabriel, is fine with it as he's in love with Vivian, but Vivian herself is horrified and refuses to become his mate, not least because she's already got a boyfriend, Aiden. However, she eventually comes around and they up being happy together.
  • Shape Shifter Mode Lock: Towards the end of the book, Vivian gets stuck halfway between wolf and human form, a symbol of her still feeling stuck between her human and wolf sides.
  • Ship Sinking: The Aiden and Vivian ship. Trying to murder your girlfriend simply for being a werewolf, even after she tried to protect you, tends to do that.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Aiden's Fun Personified best friend Peter Quincey is Rafe and Astrid's last victim.
  • Silver Bullet: Aiden melts down a pentacle necklace into silver bullets to kill Vivian after he discovers her secret...a pentacle necklace that he gave her.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man:
    • One thing that Vivian repeatedly states she likes about Aiden is how "sweet and kind" he is, and she emphasizes she wants a romantic partner who accepts her fully. Unfortunately, Aiden isn't as open-minded and understanding as she believed, although it turns out that Gabriel is.
    • Gender-flipped with Gabriel towards Vivian; he states one of the reasons he fell in love with her was because he admired her deep and sincere concern for the pack, to the point she was willing to kill herself rather than endanger them.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Vivian is considered beautiful, but she finds it makes it difficult for her to make friends at school; the girls are jealous of her while the boys find her intimidating.
  • Sore Loser: Astrid does not take well to losing both the Bitches Match and being able to have Gabriel, so much so that she starts dating her son's friend and they conspire to set Vivian up as a mass murderer to have her either killed or exiled from the pack. It backfires on her because her son, Ulf, spills the beans to Gabriel.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Ulf is the one who reveals the truth about the murders since it was his mother and one of his best friends who were committing them.
  • Their First Time: Aiden and Vivian get to a point in their relationship where they seriously consider having sex (Aiden goes as far as bringing condoms on a date just in case). However, before they take that step Vivian decides she wants to be completely honest and reveal she's a werewolf. Sadly, this instantly kills their relationship because Aiden views her with terror and revulsion.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Aiden after learning the truth about his girlfriend, culminating in him attempting to murder her.
  • True Companions: The Five, who pledge their loyalty to Vivian and consider her one of them after Rafe's betrayal and death
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Rafe at least sees himself like this to Vivian, especially since she openly preferred Axel and even Aiden over him. He's particularly incensed by her attraction to the latter, because Aiden isn't even a werewolf.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Vivian's father was killed when a human mob set the pack's home on fire. Aiden tries to kill Vivian after learning she's a werewolf, viewing her as dangerous and evil. In fairness, both he and initially Vivian herself had believed she was responsible for killing several humans, though Aiden barely even gives Vivian a chance to explain the truth.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • Ulf tells Vivian and the others when he finds out what his mother and best friend are doing, even though doing so will ensure their executions, when he could have stayed quiet and allowed them to continue killing, while using Vivian as The Scapegoat.
    • Aiden openly acts rebellious and into the supernatural but turns cowardly and even tries to murder Vivian when she reveals that she's a werewolf, meaning that he's just as closeminded and conformist as his parents who he claims to despise so much.
  • Woman Scorned: After Aidan finds out that Vivian is a werewolf and possible a murderer, the next day, she sees him on on a date with a girl named Kelly. Vivian ends up angrily going to Kelly's house and trashing her room.
    • Rafe sees himself as a version of this despite him and Vivian never getting together (she wanted Axel first and then Aiden comes into the picture).
  • Working-Class Werewolves: The loup-garou pack at the center of the novel used to run a ranch, allowing them to live together as a community and earn a living. However, their ranch was burnt down, so now they're scattered across town and taking any jobs they can to get by. At the end of the novel, new pack leader Gabriel is able to save up enough money for them to buy an inn in the countryside, so while they're not rolling in it they're in a much better financial position than before.

Alternative Title(s): Blood And Chocolate

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