Monday, May 16, 2016

WOLF HOLLOW by Lauren Wolk



Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (May 3, 2016, Dutton Children's Books, 304 pages, for ages 8 to 12)

Synopsis (from Indiebound): Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby's strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount. Brilliantly crafted, "Wolf Hollow" is a haunting tale of America at a crossroads and a time when one girl's resilience and strength help to illuminate the darkest corners of our history.

Why I recommend it: This book blew me away. I'm impressed by the imagery and the voice, and astonished by the depth here. Any adult who dismisses the importance of children's literature should read this novel. A haunting story that will stay with me for a long time.

Wolf Hollow may not appeal to kids looking for an easy read with exciting adventures, but middle school readers who prefer something deeper, quieter, and more literary will find much to love here. I've read reviews comparing this to To Kill a Mockingbird and I admit the comparison is apt, but it's rural Pennsylvania and not the South, and instead of race, this book addresses class differences and bullying. Younger readers may find a few scenes frightening. (I would suggest 9 and up or even 10 and up.)


16 comments:

  1. Wow! What a great endorsement of the book. It sounds really powerful and shows how long bullying has been going on.

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    1. Powerful is an excellent word for this book, Natalie!

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  2. Great story line with so much potential for discussion. I've seen the cover for this one, but after your review I just have to find a copy to read.

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    1. True, Greg. I could see this being used in classroom discussions for decades to come.

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  3. Sounds like an amazing book--and I'm so with you in the feeling that many adults who dismiss children's literature must not be very widely read. Thanks for the recommend, and happy MMGM!

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    1. Suzanne, I suspect a lot of adults are embarrassed to read "children's" literature. But I think it's the best!

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  4. We both reviewed books about bullying today! I saw this book advertised recently and wondered what it was about. Can't wait to get my hands on it. I love depth. Excellent review. And, it was released on my birthday.:) Another good reason to buy it.

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    1. Yes, we did! You reviewed one of my favorites from 2015, BLACKBIRD FLY. Nicely done. And a belated happy birthday, Patricia!

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  5. This is on my list of books to read~ I read Betsy Bird's review over at her Fuse 8 blog, which makes me slightly nervous about one of the girl characters (I get nervous when baddies are too realistic, which keeps me away from adult stuff featuring true baddies), but there's no way I'd stay away from this story. It sounds incredible (and the cover is gorgeous too!). Thanks for the rec!

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    1. Jessica, it's pretty potent stuff, which is why I added the warning about some scenes being frightening for younger readers. But I didn't get too nervous about it, and I'm someone who usually can't handle too much violence. Now I'm off to read Betsy's review. Thanks!

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  6. Thanks for this review. I hadn't heard of this book but immediately added it to my TBR list on your recommendation.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rosi. Hope you are doing okay.

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  7. I haven't heard of this one, but it does sound like a powerful read. Hearing your thoughts made me want to know more. I will be looking for this one!
    ~Jess

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    1. The book hasn't been out long. As more people start hearing about this, and reading it, I expect word will spread.

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  8. Such strong words! Wow. Great endorsement. I hadn't heard of this book. #hidesface Thank you so much for sharing it and for your thoughts!

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