Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Title: Tell the Wolves I’m Home
Author: Carol Rifka Brunt
Genre: Fiction / young adult

Rating: 3 / 5

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I don’t have many strong feelings about this book. Overall, it didn’t grip me, it didn’t annoy me, I didn’t love it, I didn’t dislike it. I did think it seemed a bit simplistic but I also didn’t realize it was geared toward “young adults” when I started reading it. Basically it is about June, a teen who is in the process of grieving for her uncle Finn who has died from AIDS.

First, some good things: I thought the QUILTBAG aspect was handled fairly well. I liked the sister-relationship aspect. The story was decent.

But…the writing. It was okay, I guess–serviceable but nothing special. The narration, though… agh. The story is told in the first-person point of view of June who is supposedly telling recounting the story of her 14 year old self as a 15 year old. I couldn’t really relate to her. I definitely liked some things about her character and was sympathetic to her plight. But in my estimation, the narration short-changed the story–June may be a realistic teenager, but because of that, the lens we see these characters through is myopic. She is not the most perceptive. There could be so much more going on in terms of exploring all these great characters and their relationships with each other–Finn, her mom, her dad, Toby, Greta–but they don’t get explored in any kind of depth because the framing is all in her self-absorbed head. You catch glimpses but it really wasn’t enough for me. Additionally, the whole self-hatred thing, although probably true-to-life for many, got really old really fast. Another thing that grated was the whole Ben subplot, with the nonconsensual attack-kiss being especially irksome.

All in all, I could have skipped it but it was an enjoyable enough read.


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