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Nathan, Sir Harry Smith Community College

Wolf Hollow

'The year I turned twelve, I learned how to lie.' Wolf Hollow starts with a phrase that makes you think from the start that in some way, lying justifies. You think of one big lie changing everything. I think that this is a suspense-building start to a story. This was probably what Lauren Wolk was planning on. A great start to a story. Just not this one.

This novel is about a girl called Annabelle who lives in Pennsylvania on a farm near the woods. It is based around the time of World War II. She lives a peaceful life, until a girl called Betty comes and lives with her grandparents, and life changes completely. Betty decides to bully Annabelle, her grandparents refusing to believe it. However, one day Betty goes missing. After recent events that strongly include Betty, a man called Toby is suspected for the disappearance of Betty. Annabelle must find Betty, and save Toby before it's too late.

Back to the beginning. Lying does play a part in this story, like when Annabelle hides Toby, and Betty blames everything on Toby - even though it was her. I do think it matches the story, nevertheless, it doesn't play a big enough role to be in the opening sentence. Lauren Wolk should have started this book with a different theme of the story, like, 'the year I turned twelve, I saw who people really were inside.' This gives us the same captivating effect, but is more related to the main plot of Annabelle trying to protect Toby.

When Annabelle is bullied by Betty, she tries to keep it a secret from others, even though it torments her like an agitating nightmare. She is scared of Betty, and can't pluck up the courage to tell someone. She says that the reason she didn't tell her mother was because she thought it was putting too much on her, and it would stress her. As well as this, Betty had threatened Annabelle that if she told someone, her younger brothers would be hurt too. Eventually, though, Annabelle did manage to tell her mother, and this was the start to the mysterious things that happened in Wolf Hollow.

Lauren Wolk clearly shows the relationship between Annabelle and her family, and her friendship with the mysterious Toby. Annabelle thinks the oddness about Toby is normal, though, because she knows what he'd been through when he fought in an earlier war. I would say that the ending is a bit disappointing, but maybe it's there to show that these things happen in life. The setting is described in the story as a friendly neighbourhood. There is not a lot of detail on the location, but it's surprising how you get a very strong picture of the settings, as well as letting your imagination lead you wherever it wants you to go. There are, however, some points in the story where there is lots of description on what is happening at that moment. This is done purposely to give the reader a view of what it would be like to experience what is happening.

I would recommend this book to readers who like mystery novels and emotional, sad endings. I think this book is well written, a few improvements could be made, but a story that could be told to encourage those who feel alone and faint-hearted.

Posted on: 27th May 2017 at 04:56 pm

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