This book is a solid, well written coming of age story and if it’s not being considered for a Newberry Award it darn well should be.
“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.” – Goodreads
I read this book cover to cover in one night, in one sitting. It was easy to follow and the flow and pace were spot on. I’ll definitely be looking more into Lauren Wolk’s other books now. This should be on every kid’s summer reading list and every teacher’s for that matter.
The themes of bullying, shame, social injustice and racism echo so much of today’s current events that it was hard to think of this story as a work of fiction. Not to mention Annabelle’s immediate family who are caught up in all the chaos and trying to do right by both their daughter and Toby, who is a beautiful representation of what it’s like to be misunderstood by “polite society” and what war does to a person.
The right things are always the hardest things to do like forgiving and accepting that not everyone wants to be saved.
Lauren Wolk does a wonderful job of bringing Wolf Hollow to life, making you feel all those hard emotions that we all have felt when we were Annabelle’s age. Even as a parent I found I could relate to her father and mother in ways that I wouldn’t have if I were still a pre-teen. Wolf Hollow offers something for everyone of every age.
If this book doesn’t leave you crying at the end then you most likely missed the deeper meaning.