Review: Suddenly Squirrel by Elva Birch (2023)

Suddenly Shifters, Book #5

Heat Factor: Gary was more forward than I expected

Character Chemistry: Suddenly don’t hate each other, suddenly sex…It all happens pretty suddenly

Plot: Gary feels unwell one night and wakes up able to shift into a squirrel. When he goes to the library for answers, he gets some help from his neighbor, Marie, who is super grumpy.

Overall: The amount of musical theater tune references in this book is really something

The whole premise of this series is absurd and humorous, so if you’re looking for some serious shifter drama, look elsewhere. This book (and all the books in this series) is short, so Birch is packing a lot into a small space. I haven’t read the other books in the series, but other characters do make appearances because the bigger problem of the series is that people in town are spontaneously becoming shifters, and there are shady people purportedly from a government agency investigating them. Or trying to. The shifters manage to stay one step ahead. If you’re looking for big things to happen with that plot, it’s not here: this is Gary and Marie’s section of the road, but it extends well into the distance before and after them. 

Likewise, the romance doesn’t have significant time to develop from an antagonistic neighbor dynamic—Marie is a killjoy and Gary lives a pretty loud life—into a romance. Honestly, when Gary told Marie he loves her, I gasped because that came on really fast. If you’re willing to roll with it, it’s a fun ride, but if you’re not, then probably you should find another book.

Beyond the copious musical theater references (no joke—everything can relate back to some musical somewhere), Birch (as usual) plays in this book: Gary can’t find any non-fiction that might teach him about being a shifter, so he borrows The Flamingo’s Fated Mate, a fiction shifter book by Birch herself. Some folks won’t like this, but I found it as amusing as it was meant to be. More broadly, I enjoyed that this series is playing with the shifter idea in that they’re not born shifters, and everyone experiencing this situation is as confused as everybody else. One of my favorite things about Birch is that she plays with shifter tropes in fun ways.

If you already enjoy reading Birch’s books, you’ll probably have fun with this one, but if you’re new to the author, I’d suggest starting with one of her full-length book series first.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Buy Now: Amazon

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