L.J. Smith, author of the Vampire Diaries series, said: “Electrifying. Chilling. Enthralling. Amazing. One of the truest young voices I’ve ever heard, with a plot that keeps you stuck to the pages and stops the breath in your throat. This is a writer who will go farther than perhaps even she imagines.”

Nancy A. Collins, author of the Vamps series, said: “Mary Borsellino’s The Wolf House introduces readers to a group of smart, hip, snarky young friends who like to eat pizza, gossip, watch horror movies and, oh yeah, hang out with vampires. Just your typical high school students.”

Narrelle M Harris, author of The Opposite of Life, said: “Mary Borsellino is one of the up-and-coming writers of this generation, regardless of genre. As it happens, she writes some of the very best vampire fiction in the vast sea of vamplit that is out there.

Her world-building is impeccable, with a consistent and fresh vampire mythology. Her characterisation is a joy, in which no-one is perfectly good or perfectly evil, and yet they are all perfectly human (vampire and human alike) and the most real people I have seen striding out of a page in a long time.

Mary Borsellino writes stories that break apart your expectations. She is never predictable, always engaging and brings insight, intelligence and emotional reality into a tale that is also full of action and excitement.”

Karen Healey, author of Guardian of the Dead, said: “Mary does characterisation like she is wielding a sympathetic, observant scalpel.”

Torches said: “At one point in Mary Borsellino’s THE WOLF HOUSE: ORIGINS AND OVERTURES, a character says “Origin stories are crap.”

Not all of them.

This one isn’t.

This is for the freaks, the geeks, the loners and the losers, the ones who never got along with anything but the bruises and the people who bled from their own self-inflicted wounds because … well, because of a lot of reasons, because they never felt comfortable being together and because they never held themselves in a way that made people think they had something to steal, to feed on. It’s for the barely and the merely human among you. But it’s for more than that.

With a sharp clarity that rarely makes it into even the most clear-headed self-conscious “literary” novels, ORIGINS AND OVERTURES is as focused on the faces we present to the world as it is with stripping them away to reveal that even the coolest, the richest, the snobbiest, and the impossibly secure are as raw and fucked as the ones who don’t know how to hide what scars their lives have produced.

And it’s not about how vampires and anything like that could ever bring you happiness or specialness. Vampires, as the characters are quick to point out, are a metaphor, and not always a very good one, even - especially - when they’re real creatures too. One of THE WOLF HOUSE’s greatest accomplishments is its deft, overt acknowledgment of the pop culture context it belongs in - complete with references from its monster-movie-fan main character: Poppy Z Brite! THE LOST BOYS! Anne Rice! Vampire: the Masquerade! - right alongside its own vividly realized monsters, vampires as nonmetaphorical as they are personably nonhuman. And they offer no grand escape from the problems a regular old confused human freak ever has to face. Some greater security, a home, immortality: great, but hardly the lifesaver it’s made out to be for an angry punk rock chick confused about everything and uncomfortable in her own skin - do you really think immortality fixes these things?


This is a messy, bracing book, but under the fangs of a hot teenage summer, it has a bleeding heart, fresh and warm and alive.

God, it’s so good it makes me want to scream.”

Audrey Fox said: “I think it is amazing and worth checking out. Mary is a phenomenal writer and it has been a privilege to work on the series with her.”

Erinna said: “Excellent fun teenage characters who are actual teenagers. Queer and genderqueer characters as main characters, and fully realised people, full of flaws and bright points and awesome. Motherfuckin vampires.”

Dr Stephen Dann said: Go buy The Wolf House. Then come back and talk about how amazing it is, and how awesome it will be to read the entire series, and how we’re all going to be able to say “I read that before it became a major motion picture franchise”.

Beckah said: “She describes it as “Twilight for punks,” but it could just as easily be called “Twilight for feminists” or “Twilight for queers” or “Twilight for people who really like monster movies” or “Twilight for people who don’t — well, ok, who do think that stalking can be kind of sexy, especially if it’s a vampire, but only if the author admits it’s kind of creepy too” or “Twilight for people who think everything would be better with kittens in.””

Gracie said: “IF YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR COPY YET, THEN WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?? And I’m not just saying that because I’m one of the people that it’s dedicated to.”

Theonlytwin posted an excerpt and then said: “AND IT GETS BETTER. we haven’t even got to the biting, and the kitten called Bikini Kill. want it? yes you do. go buy it. it’s five dollars of boykissing and brilliant bands who are sometimes vampire hunters and lust and love and movies and tattoos and shoplifting and perfect perfect perfect dialogue.”

Severedscythe said: “I read it in one sitting this morning/afternoon because I literally couldn’t STOP. So I am generally unwashed and f-disgusting because I COULD NOT GO AWAY FROM THE BOOK. YES. READ IT.”

Chameleongirl said: “Mary describes it as Twilight for punks, but it is so much more. Real teenagers with real feelings and failures and queer characters that aren’t cliches!”

Nat said: “It has its own vampire lore which I found grippingly interesting and you better believe they don’t sparkle. It has teenagers being teenagers and vampires being vampires and teenagers being vampires. It has scenekids and people with tattoos. It has queer relationships and straight relationships and love and not-love. Vampires kill humans, but not every human they meet. It has some unhappy endings, yet it does not really have the idea of good and evil, just of things living according to their nature. But mostly it has realistic characters, complex, lovable characters, human or vampire, like seriously some of the best characters I have EVER read. “

The Wolf House: Origins and Overtures

The Wolf House: Origins and Overtures

Twilight for punks” puts the pulse back into Gen-Y vampires

Melbourne music journalist Mary Borsellino’s latest novel, The Wolf House: Origins and Overtures, slams the reader with all the stuff tragically absent from most vampire stories for teens: rock and roll, swearing, sex, tattoos, feminism, bisexuality, blood, and daring.

“I read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight,” Borsellino explains. “And, while I liked it, I thought “okay, so that’s like Sandy and Danny [from the film Grease], the cute little sodapop love story. Now I want to read the one about Betty Rizzo”.”

Discovering that no such equivalent existed in the Young Adult marketplace, Borsellino knew it was high time somebody wrote one.

“This one’s Twilight for punks,” she suggests with a laugh. “It’s got teenagers and vampires and a love story, but it’s much messier. I wanted to write a book for the sixteen-year-old girl who’s just learning about feminism and punk and riot grrrls for the first time. For the kids who’re having crushes on other kids who’re the same gender as them, and the ones who aren’t sure yet which gender they’re meant to be. Kids who’re bullied at school. All the ones who don’t fit.”

“I mean, look at me, I’ve got tattoos all over my arms; I pierced my nose with a thumbtack when I was eighteen. I’m twenty-seven and I still spend all my time at rock shows. The kids I see there — and the kid I was myself — aren’t like the kids in Twilight. Where’re our books?”

Yes, books, plural. Origins and Overtures is the first in a series of five, with the second book, Roads and Crosses, due in two months’ time, and the others following at two-month intervals after that.

“What can I say, I like giving people nice things to look forward to,” offers Borsellino. “That’s the best thing about electronic publishing — the turn-around time is much faster, and the books are much cheaper than even ordinary paperbacks. You can put them on your iPod or your Blackberry, print them out, or read them right on your computer screen. It’s much more flexible, and you can share the book with friends by email without having to lend your own copy out.”

“Also, electronic publishers are smaller than traditional publishers. Independent. Even the format of these books is very much the DIY, punk way of doing things.”

Mary Borsellino

Mary Borsellino

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