Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

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Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Five words from the blurb: family, friendship, life, AIDS, death

I first heard about Tell the Wolves I’m Home in November last year. I went to meet publicists from Pan Macmillan and they were all raving about this book, despite the fact it wouldn’t be published for another 7 months. I have to admit that I was sceptical – the blurb didn’t sound anything special and I’ve read so many coming-of-age type novels that I rarely find one that adds anything new to the genre. On this occasion I was wrong. Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a fantastic story and I’m pleased I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

The book is set in New York during the 1980s and focuses on June, a 14-year-old girl who loves spending time with her Uncle Finn. He is a famous painter, but is dying from AIDS. June must learn to accept life without her uncle and also deal with the secrets that emerge from her family’s past.

June is an amazing character. By the end of the book I felt as though I knew her personally. Her thoughts and emotions were described with incredible clarity, perfectly capturing the turmoil of adolescence. June’s roller-coaster relationship with her sister was particularly well portrayed and I’m sure that anyone who has a sister will relate to many of the scenes described.

The pace of the book was quite slow, but I was captivated by June’s problems. The quality of the writing enabled me to be engaged throughout, despite the relative simplicity of the plot.

I used to think maybe I wanted to be a falconer, and now I’m sure of it, because I need to figure out the secret. I need to work out how to keep things flying back to me instead of always flying away.

This book does a fantastic job of showing the terrible attitude those with AIDS had to endure in the 1980s. Having only been a child in that decade I don’t think I was fully aware of the confusion and misinformation that was spread around during those years.

If you enjoy reading vivid, emotional stories about families in conflict then this is for you. The beautifully rounded characters will stay with me for a long time.



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  1. Steph says:

    I am so glad to hear you loved this one as much as I did. I too didn’t think the blurb sounded like anything special, but took a chance and am so glad I did. For me, I found the writing so honest and brave and beautiful that it truly did bring me to tears. Loved this book very much and can’t wait for Brunt to write another book!

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, It didn’t move me to tears (not many books do) but I can see why you were affected. Honest, brave and beautiful are the perfect words to describe the writing. I’m looking forward to seeing what she produces next too.

  2. I just finished this one on Monday and liked it so much. It tugged at the heartstrings — no review yet, but a 5/5 stars for me.

    1. Jackie says:

      Diane, So pleased to hear that you loved it too! I look forward to reading your review.

  3. Audra says:

    Want/NEED. I’m pretty sure I have an ARC around that I was kind of ignoring — now I need to find it and read it immediately!

    1. Jackie says:

      Audra, I can see why you were ignoring the ARC, but I urge you to dig it out of that pile right now – it is far better than it sounds!

  4. I haven’t heard of this book, but it sounds great!

    1. Jackie says:

      Judith, I think you’ll love this one. Hope you track down a copy one day.

  5. Jenners says:

    I just read another review of this book that pretty much praised it to the sky as well.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenners, Great news! I hope the word-of-mouth buzz continues to spread.

  6. A fine review that has piqued my interest. Thanks for sharing

    1. Jackie says:

      Reading Pleasure, It is great that I’m able to spread the word about this fantastic book.

  7. stujallen says:

    Oh I like the Hanks film about AIDS and cna remember the lies and myths that grew up around aids in the eighties so a book about having it at the time is sure to be worht reading ,all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, Yes. This book was so beautifully written – all those myths were included in such a subtle way that I learnt things without really realising I was doing so.

  8. Chinoiseries says:

    I would be hesitant as well, if I had only the blurb to read… but your review has convinced me. Adding another book to my tbr :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Chinoiseries, Yay! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  9. nomadreader says:

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting this one but am now even more excited. The setting appeals to me immensely too. I’ll have to track down a copy soon.

    1. Jackie says:

      nomadreader, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy this one. I look forward to reading your thoughts at some point.

  10. Jenny says:

    Yours is the second glowing review I’ve seen of this book in two days, and I’m really excited to read it now. It doesn’t necessarily sound like my cup of tea from the synopsis, but I trust y’all when you say it’s really good. I’ve put an ehold on it at all three of the libraries where I have an account (gamin the system what up), so hopefully I should be able to get it soon. :D

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenny, I love the way you game the system!

  11. Caroline says:

    I missed this review and it sounds like such a wonderful book.
    I’m glad you mentioned it in your summary post.
    It still winds me up that people can’tmake the difference between being HIV positive and having AIDS. as the uncle is dying in the book, he isn’t just positive I reckon.

    1. Jackie says:

      Caroline, I’m glad you found my review. I think you’d enjoy this one.

  12. John Braine says:

    Just finished. Another great read. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I read Lost memory of Skin too which I also enjoyed but didn’t quite captivate me as much as Wolves.

    I never would have thought of this before it was ‘a thing’ but this is good solid YA. Yet if it was marketed as YA, I never would have read it.

    1. Jackie says:

      John, Glad you enjoyed this one. I agree that it would make a fantastic YA read and I would also have been wary of it had it been marketed as such. I think the writing is too slow and complex for a traditional YA book, but I’m sure a lot of younger people would still love it.

      I found Lost Memory of Skin equally captivating in the beginning, but the second half of that book was weak. Glad you’re enjoying my recommendations.


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