A friend generously loaned me her advanced reading copy of Lauren Wolk’s middle grade novel, Wolf Hollow, which is generating a lot of prepublication buzz. Wolf Hollow is unlike many novels for kids between the ages of 10 and 12. With a generosity of spirit, the author asks kids to think about moral ambiguity, and she’s confident in their ability to ask hard questions.
Annabelle is growing up in Pennsylvania during WWII. But Wolk’s novel is not about the evil across the ocean, but evil that lurks beneath the surface in a seemingly quiet and beautiful place. Living a relatively peaceful life with her parents and two brothers, Annabelle’s life changes on the day she meets Betty Glengarry, a troubled girl who has come to live with her grandparents. Betty begins with low stakes bullying – like meeting Annabelle on her way to school and asking her for money – and quickly ups the stakes by becoming eviler (is that a word?) and even violent. Looking for someone to blame, Bad Betty points in the direction of Toby, a solitary WWI veteran, but Annabelle knows Toby is innocent and stands alone to defend him.
Reading Wolf Hollow is an experience. Of course, that’s true of every book, but this feels immersive in the best way. I jumped when Betty popped out from behind a tree. I could feel the lonely road and even looked around to see if anyone else was close by to witness what was going on. I also appreciate how directly Wolf Hollow grapples with a child’s transition from being “too young to hear adult conversation” to the mixed blessing of being invited to stay. “You think Annabelle shouldn’t hear such things?” Wolk writes. “I agree Sarah, but you’re the one who think she belongs here at the table with adults.” That shifting – and sometimes blurry – line is at the center of Wolk’s novel.
Wolf Hollow will be published on May 3. Plan to add it to yours summer reading stack!
Two more things….
Check out the progress of our beautiful new library. The library is going to be on the second floor which doesn’t exist yet, but it’s definitely taking shape. The new wood behind the round structure will be classrooms.
And, finally, here’s a wonderful picture of one of the Library’s most loyal readers. I don’t know if she actually planned to read all of those books or is trying to make a decision!