Tessa , Palmers Green High School
‘Wolf Hollow’ is, in my opinion, one of the best books any reader will be able to find on the Carnegie Shortlist this year. I was speechless when I finished this book, and I realised how deeply it resonated with how I felt about issues like nationality, racial hate and the Second World War. In my opinion, it is idiotic to target someone for something other people from the same nationality are responsible for, as happens in this book, and I was horrified, but yet mysteriously gripped, by the story as it unfolded to its impeccable conclusion.
Lauren Wolk has crafted this story perfectly down to the last word, and what struck me the most was Annabelle; she was a hardened, experienced narrator who understood exactly what was going on and what to do. She was a child growing up in a difficult time when everyone around her had a different opinion about what she believed in, and she showed true strength of character and bravery. I was cheering her on in every second of reading, I laughed and cried when she did and she honestly felt real, especially in her struggles against those, like Aunt Lily, who strived to condemn Toby.
Toby was another highly developed character, and yet we barely learn anything about him during the course of the book. Toby, for me, was the saddest character and the hardest to empathise with because what he made you feel were the emotions we don’t want to feel: guilt, anger and true sorrow. Like Annabelle, Toby was not a terrifying monster to me. He was the victim again and again and it was this knowledge that encouraged so much sympathy for Toby.
Characters aside, it was the time period that also made me think much more deeply about what Wolk was saying about human nature: how we as humans instinctively jump to the most ‘obvious’ conclusion and once we’re thinking that way how narrow-minded we become, but also how apathetic we become to other’s pain if we choose to look the other way. Unlike most other authors that talk about human nature, she did not forcefully push her ideas into your face, but instead she dropped subtle hints. Most of these hints were placed outside of what Annabelle understood, and it was what Annabelle did not comprehend that was the most hard hitting because as readers we could see what Wolk meant.
‘Wolf Hollow’ was a truly beautiful story because it was not afraid to talk about its issues, but not in the way we expect, so when we understood what was being said, it had a bigger impact than if it was stated in black and white. Readers interested in this book should be aware that there are some very heavy topics discussed, and that parts can be quite emotionally challenging but I believe that readers of most ages should read this book, particularly older readers, because they will get the most out of this masterpiece.
Posted on: 20th May 2017 at 11:46 am
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