William, Sir John's Shadowers
The cover of Wolf Hollow, by Lauren Wolk, features the poignant image of a figure walking over a hill under the moonlight. A surprisingly powerful image, though it is slightly lessened by the critical acclaim it's littered with. And I'd personally say that the cover is better than the book itself. Wolf Hollow is a story I have very mixed feelings about. It is in part, a beautiful, unfiltered story of life, but also partly over-dramatic, cliched and just less enjoyable than some of the other candidates for Carnegie that I've read.
It follows the story of Annabelle, who lives a peaceful life in the small town of Wolf Hollow shortly after America entered World War 2. Around that time, a girl named Betty is moved to her town to live with her grandparents, where she mercilessly bullies Annabelle every day. However out of nowhere, Betty vanishes, and suspicion soon falls on an unusual man named Toby. Annabelle is the only person who knows Toby is innocent, and sets out to both find Betty and prove to the people of Wolf Hollow how harmless Toby really is.
But, after saying that, you may think that I only told you the first few chapters. In reality, Betty doesn't even go missing until around halfway into the book. The first half is spent setting up the town of Wolf Hollow, the character of Betty and the sort of community they generally live in. And, surprisingly, this was the best part. One of the reasons for this was Toby. He wasn't in the first half that much, which I liked for how mysterious he was, which made it slightly off-putting when the second half was focused on him.
Another problem with the second half is how unoriginal it is. It's such a surprise, considering how much I loved the beginning, but it feels like it began to run out of creativity. Easily the books strongest point is the character of Annabelle. It's told in first person, and, since she's supposedly eleven years old, I was surprised to find that... she actually feels like an eleven year old! The way she acts feels so believable, so earnest, I could swear she could actually exist.
As for the ending, not to give much away, I have one big positive and one big negative. The main problem is how it feels quite excessive. I'm not going to tell you what happens, but I'm saying that it feels a little over-the-top. But on the other hand, it is still quite brave and extremely honest.
In conclusion, Wolf Hollow is a good book that could be great. I want it to be great, and if it remained consistent, I'd probably like it more then Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth and Railhead, and both of those books are absolutely fantastic. But, as it stands, Wolf Hollow is simply just a good book. I do still recommend it, but I'd say that you should read something like Sputnik before you read Wolf Hollow.
Posted on: 19th May 2017 at 10:36 am