Book of the Month – Wolf Hoolow by Laren Wolk

Summary – Wolf Hollow is the story of a twelve-year-old girl named Annabelle. Annabelle is a compassionate and intelligent young girl, who tries to see the good in others and works hard to help her family.

Like many children her age, Annabelle is the victim of bullying. Her tormentor is a new classmate named Betty, who doesn’t just verbally abuse Annabelle, but also physically and psychologically torments her.

Annabelle befriends a World War I Veteran who seems to be suffering from PTSD. He is a quiet and troubled man, but above all he is a good man. When he stands up to Betty one day after he sees her bullying Annabelle, Betty decides she will get back at him.

When Annabelle’s friend, Ruth, gets hit with a stone to her eye and ends up loosing that eye, Betty and her boyfriend (another known bully) say they saw Toby throw the rock. Things only escalate from there.

In the end, Betty goes missing and the prime suspect is Toby. Annabelle helps hide Toby and must figure out the whereabouts of Betty in order to save Toby from being unfairly prosecuted.

  1. Bestseller’s Lists or Awards
    A 2017 John Newberry Medal Honoree and New York Times Bestseller
  2. PublisherDutton  Books for Young Readers
  3. Year Published – 2016
  4. Number of Pages – 304
  5. What Makes it Special? – The author manages to tackle a very touchy and relevant subject matter in such a wonderful way. Lauren does not shy away from showing the very real and dangerous forms bullying can take. There are many moments in the book that readers will feel the very real terror and helplessness Annabelle feels from the bullying she has to experience. I think this book will resonate with a lot of kids. I also appreciate the fact that every character in the book is complex and multidimensional. Each one is flawed in their own way. Lauren does a great job of giving us a glimpse into why they are the way they are. Although readers may not like the characters or may dislike certain aspects of their personalities, they do get a chance to understand the why of their behaviors, even if just a bit.
  6. What I like about this book? – I love that the protagonist and hero of the book is a young girl. I also love that Annabelle is strong, compassionate, smart, and perceptive. She manages to see and understand things that even adults can’t see. I really appreciate that the end is not necessarily a happy one. Real life is not sugarcoated and things don’t always end up the way we would like them to. Although there are a lot of tough themes that are covered in this book, the reader is left in the end feeling hopeful.

Thank you for reading my book of the month. The purpose of these reviews is to break down and analyze bestselling and award winning books. It is crucial for writers and illustrators, that wish to be published, to do homework on what books are currently being sold and garnering awards. I hope to figure out what makes these books special and what attributes they share. I hope you will find this review helpful.

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