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Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel

Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel - Carol Rifka Brunt This is not the sort of book I usually read. I avoid anything with reviews talking about how often they cried while reading - my life has enough sadness already, I don't need it from a book! I also don't read many coming of age stories. I was initially attracted to this book by the cover, and then when I read the summary I knew I had to read it, tragic or not.

"Tell the Wolves I'm home" is the story of June, an awkward high school freshman caught between childhood fantasy and adult reality. Her uncle, Finn, is her best friend. He dies of AIDs and leaves June without a confidant. She is eventually contacted by his boyfriend, Toby, and the two strike up an unconventional friendship.

It's also the story of June's relationship with her older sister Greta - once close, the two have grown apart as they grow up. It's the story of regrets, and the idea that you can't really change the past, just learn to live with its consequences.

June... June was wonderful. I related to her intensely, having been a weird teen myself. My interests were musical theater and science fiction rather than falconry and medieval times, but I understood her need to be different. Some reviewers mentioned finding her indecisiveness frustrating, but I didn't. She seemed very real, and her actions made sense.

Toby and Finn (though we mostly see him through other's eyes) were also wonderful characters. Having had close friends die from AIDs I was interested in their story.

I gave the book 4 stars. It's compulsively readable (I read the entire thing in one sleepless night!) In contrast to the other reviews, I was not tempted to tears once. I mean, when the book is about AIDs in the 1980s you pretty much know what you're getting into there. But remember, I hate to cry, so that wasn't a problem for me.

I have two criticisms of the book. The first was the imagery of the wolves which fill the book. It was a bit heavy handed, and took me out of the plot (as thought the author were saying "Let me show you my metaphor!")

My other frustration was with the character of Greta (June's older sister.) Throughout the book we see Greta self-destructing. It felt as though we were building to something, but it turns out that she is sad because she misses her relationship with her sister. I know the book is June's story, but that particular plot thread's conclusion took away from the character's. I wanted Greta to have other motivations, to exist as a character separate from June in some ways.

I highly recommend this book. It's adult literature, but I think it would also appeal to teens.