Two weeks ago, we were asked to read books for class that were 2013 ALA winners. The Alex awards were some that I’ve never really kept I close eye on, so I chose Tell the Wolves I’m Home – by Carol Rifka Brunt. The story starts slowly and I was very frustrated at first, but once I start a story (no matter how horrible or awkward), I feel as though I owe it to those characters to read their tales in the hope that I’ll somehow find a line or idea that I’ve been thinking about my whole life, but haven’t been able to put into words on my own. And luckily, that’s just what I found with this story. –This magnificent story of a young, strange, teenage girl who just wants to be loved back with the same depth that she is able to love others with. More times than not, I’ve found myself wishing the same thing, not knowing if anyone out there in the world truly understands that there are only a few people in this life who really “get” me. And if they disappear from your life, as good things often do, you never know if you’ll have another being who will ever come around like that. This character of June seems stereotypical at first – a young, chubby girl, who has a sister who can do no wrong. I get that. And the young adult I am now just wants to reach out and hug this girl, because she’s exactly how I remember feeling in high school – especially when the person who she’s closest with, dies. She’s got to start at square one. And what happens from then on is a beautifully crafted, worded, tearful mess of the strings that love pulls (that don’t usually feel like strings, but like wires that can cut through anything). This little girl is one of the most profound characters I have ever read and her relationship with her sister (though not the main focus of the book) is my favorite thing about the whole story. You will feel as if you know these people, are these people, and have been these people, that is, this girl and every single family member and how messy love can be and how no one can understand it but they always try to make sense of it. Love just is. And loss is inevitable. This book has illustrated those ideas beautifully and has filled the empty space of my soft and fragile heart (like June’s) to remind me that there are people in this world who can love you as much as you love them. They might not be around forever, but your love for them will never wither. Beautiful.
Rating: Gary gives it 4 paws.
Suggested songs to accompany this novel: Brand New Key – Katherine McPhee; Overboard – Ingrid Michaelson