Celeste Parker has never believed in the myth of the Legend's Run werewolf -- not even when a mysterious witch doctor's psychic prediction comes alarmingly true. After being rescued from a blinding snowstorm and a bloodthirsty pack of wolves by her school's new loner, Celeste can't help but be fascinated by her secret hero. But Celeste soon realizes that she should have heeded the witch doctor's warning: "Beware of a kiss under the full moon. It will change your life forever..."
Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber starts strong, with the mystery and intrigue surrounding the ethereal witch doctor and her bizarre prediction. Yet, the characters that populate this world are far too cookie cutter and stereotypical to truly come to life for the reader, or to be compelling. All of Celeste's friends -- from her best girl friends Abby and Ivy, to her boyfriend Nash -- are pretty and popular, but also shallow and cruel. Celeste sets herself apart by her compassion and her willingness to look past exteriors, and yet she is still utterly caught up in what her terrible friends think of her, and constantly shows a sad lack of self-esteem. While I really wanted to root for Celeste, I ultimately couldn't because she refused to recognize that she was putting too much stock by her superficial, "popular" friends, all while trying to appear as though she was morally superior to them all. This novel does have several truly mystical moments that are mesmerizing, and the drama is occasionally heart-pounding. Yet, the suspense ultimately came to naught, as the mythology was never brought together in a coherent way -- but continued to develop in surprising ways without any real explanation.
First and foremost, however, this is a love story -- but the romance that developed over the course of the novel felt thin and even a little cheesy. Even though Celeste's new love interest, Brandon, is by far the most interesting character, he is so mysterious that it's difficult for the reader to get a true sense of his personality. Their love develops far too quickly to be believable as anything more than teenage infatuation. Despite all this, though, there was still something that drew me forward throughout the story. Once in a Full Moon had the potential to be so much more, and I kept hoping that it would develop that promise into reality. I was ultimately disappointed, but I believe that this story of paranormal love can be revived if more of Brandon's true nature and the mysteries of Legend's Run are revealed in future installments.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this novel via NetGalley. This did not affect my review in any way.