Tell the Wolves I’m Home – Carol Rifka Brunt

Posted 15 May, 2014 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 23 Comments


Title: Tell the Wolves I’m Home
Author: Carol Rifka Brunt
Published: 2012; Pages: 360
Genre: Fiction
Rating: Oh my heart

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Fourteen year old June learns to navigate through her life after the loss of her uncle, godfather, and best friend Finn. That sounds lame. Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a beautiful and heart-wrenching coming of age story.

Why I Read It: Because you all told me that I had to. #blameitonthebookbloggers All I need to hear is “feel all the feels” and I’m sold.

Thoughts in General: When my sister asked what I was going to recommend for book club I told her “Tell the Wolves I’m Home. I don’t know anything about it except that it’s a coming of age story and is related to AIDS.” She started to look it up on Goodreads and I blurted out, “Lalalalala don’t tell me. I don’t want to know anymore. Not yet!”

How do I explain to someone that the reason why I want to read a book is because it made you cry. Because it gave you all the feels. Because you found it heartbreaking and lovely and ohmygod Junie. To me this says everything that I want to know about a book and is enough for me to put it on my list. Right? I know you understand. That’s why we’re friends.

June narrates the story of Tell the Wolves I’m Home and she is awkward and emotional and naive and I just wanted to hug her so badly. The story is very much about her relationship with Finn, who was her entire world, but we learn so much about June through her interactions with her sister Greta, her mostly absent parents, and the new stranger in her life, Toby. Being fourteen can be such a painful experience and through her thoughts June illustrates the difficulties of being on the cusp of adulthood. I could have had the same thoughts and emotions (and probably did) when I was fourteen years old. Her naivete is so honest and so heartbreaking.

Because much of the novel is internal, the book moves at a slow pace as the pieces of the novel begin to fit together by the end. Short chapters help the movement but I can see how a less interested reader might lose interest in the story. Certainly Tell the Wolves is not a plot propelled book, especially at the start. As a reader this worked for me and it was fascinating to watch June reconcile her mental reality with the reality of the world outside of her. How often did we not realize in our youth that perception is not always reality. Sigh.

Plus the writing really is lovely.

Bottom Line: I’m glad I have all of you to tell me when I must read a book. And I’m glad I listen. I must add that the two other gals who read the book for book club did not like it as I did. What? I know. I think one was a listening error (she mentioned that she didn’t like the narrator and felt June was whiny). So, perhaps it’s not for everyone. But I hope that you’ll give it a try. June’s is a story that deserves to be read.

Ok, give me more feely books! What’s your favorite?

23 Responses to “Tell the Wolves I’m Home – Carol Rifka Brunt”

  1. I have read The Fault. I liked it but it wasn’t my favorite by Green. It does seem to be a favorite “feel all the feels” book though!

  2. I’m not a “feel all the feels” kind of reader but this does sound interesting. This may be a library book vs a buy book for me though. I’ll definitely have to pass it on to my daughter. I think she’ll like it – she is most definitely a feels reader!

  3. I’ve got this sitting on my TBR shelf and bought it because of book blogger mass praise, but something is stopping me from reading it – I don’t think I’m usually a feely-feels kind of girl! I must read it soon though, if only to find out what all the fuss is about.

  4. This book was on my favorite of the year list. Glad you listened to blogger and enjoyed it. A couple of recommendations are: Orphan Train, The Kept, Mercy Snow, Eleanor and Park.

  5. Trish, Triiiiiiiiish *flails hands at you, gets all excited* yesssss. This was the best and I love it so much and also you’ve reminded me I need my own copy and yessssssssss!

  6. I bought this book last week. I’ve read the first page or two and was hooked already! I really need to get back to it! It got set aside for some reason – oh, another book or 10 were pushing their way in front of the line. But after reading your review, I know I need to get back NOW! Because all the things you say about it is why I read and what makes a book good for me!

    Linda in VA

  7. This might be next for me after The Enchanted. I know I’m gonna love it and I hate that I had to miss our discussion.

  8. OMG–I can comment again!!!! :D :D :D You do know I’ve been reading, even though I couldn’t comment, right? But now lol, you’re back to being stuck with me being able to talk back. :P

    Okay, I obviously need to read this! Chris convinced me I did a while back, but it sort slipped off my radar. You’ll put squarely back on! :D

  9. I TOTALLY understand why you would want to read a book just because it’s a feely book. I love these books too and those usually end up being my favorites. I love d Tell the Wolves I’m Home so darn much. I just read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and that’s definitely a feely book. And on the plus side, it’s super short. :)

  10. Yep, “That’s why we’re friends.” I would rec A History of Love but I think you’ve read it already. A terrific FEELS book. Have you tried Beautiful Ruins? I was one of the ones who RAVED HAPPY about that one tho for many if fell flat. Oh well.
    Happy Anniversary, too, btw.

  11. Isn’t it funny? I find myself wanting to read books based on that recommendation alone, “It made me cry” or “It made me feel” or whatever. That’s all it takes sometimes.

  12. I’m not sure if this will be the best book I read in 2014, but it will most certainly wind up on my Top Ten List. I thought it was just wonderful! I think I’d like to go back and read it a second time, now that I know how it ends. I kept expecting something terrible to happen to Greta…