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Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk: A Book Review

Wolf Hollow
Author: Lauren Wolk
Genre: Children, Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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.

     My Review: In a small Pennsylvania town, a tragic event has occurred. Annabelle is a young girl who has been bullied by an older girl named Betty. When Betty suddenly disappears, the suspicion falls on an outsider, Toby, whom Annabelle has befriended. Annabelle must master her courage to fight for the injustice of her friend. Can Annabelle save her friend or is it too late?

    Annabelle is a strong protagonist that audiences will root for. She is very fierce and loving. She will do anything to protect her family and also the first to befriend a stranger. She is also a young woman who must conquer her fear. Because she has been bullied by Betty, she becomes afraid of her. Yet, she must stand up to Betty and her lies to not only help herself but for her friend. Annabelle is also very brilliant. She is observant and is able figure out the mystery before anyone else. There were many times that Annabelle came off more like an adult than an eleven year old child, yet I liked this character that I was able to ignore her mature voice.

    Overall, this story is about family, friendship, injustice, and courage. The message of the book is to stand up for what is right. Wolf Hollow is a fast-paced mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. I really did like the characters. I do wish that Betty’s character was developed a bit more. I would have liked to understand her motives rather than her just being a mean girl to further the plot. While this is a children’s story, I believe that due to the story elements and the writing style that this book is more for mature teens and adults. Nevertheless, it would be good source material for teachers to read aloud in the classroom alongside The Watsons Went to Birmingham. Still, I recommend that parents read this novel first and discuss the themes with their children. I recommend this novel for fans of Bud, Not Buddy, Sounder, and Where the Red Fern Grows.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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