My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Dutton BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 11+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, WWII, Bullying
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.
Annabelle is one of the most realistic, relatable middle grade heroines I have met in a very long time.
Usually, I don’t exactly expect to relate to middle grade heroes and heroines. I know that that period of my life has come and gone, and while I still believe myself young at heart, I only expect from those characters to charm me and maybe impress me in some way.
Annabelle did more than that. She is so real and true, and maybe a little naïve, but I couldn’t help but see myself in her. I guess I, too, can be a little naïve sometimes. What can I say; I have yet to learn everything about the world.
Nonetheless, it’s her heart and her strength that made me adore her so. She chooses not to let herself and her brothers be bullied by Betty, the new girl. Even if the battle she is fighting is a strenuous one, she will not stand still and watch her world crumble before her eyes.
What wonderful writing we have here. WOLF HOLLOW is a delight to the passionate mind, because we see and feel Annabelle’s passion through the carefully weaved words. I am all the more delighted to hear the author’s next novel will be hitting the shelves in two months.
The problem with this book, I find and, really, I can only speak my most honest opinion, is that I’m not sure an eleven-year-old would enjoy this as much as I did. It’s well-written, important and full of themes, but not exactly entertaining. Bullying is not a theme I remember enjoying reading about when I was that age, and there is no romance whatsoever. It’s a very, very mature middle grade novel. But what do I know, everyone’s different. I might be entirely wrong here. All I can say is that this is not a book one reads to be entertained.
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