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Tom, Aylsham High School

Wolf Hollow

Book review of Wolf Hollow

This is a story set in rural America during the impact of The Second World War about a farm girl, Annabelle, and the way she solves a mystery in the community while learning important life lessons.
The book starts with the arrival of Betty and the clash between her and Annabelle. You are introduced to Toby, a wandering ex-serviceman who befriends Annabelle and helps her throughout the plot to stand up against Betty’s bulling and then to eventually save her.
I liked the way this book tied in the views of rural Americans about The World Wars with more personal battles in the community. Racial discrimination and high tension between villagers due to the war made the setting seem convincing and imaginative. I also enjoyed the portrayal of Toby, revealing the sad truth about physically and mentally wounded soldiers displaced after wars. His heroic acts towards the end create an admirable character. The writer portrayed the characters convincingly by implying their personality through their speech and actions, and added to them by including flaws and suggesting a range of emotion.
Concerning the quality of writing, I find the book as a whole to be without much meaning, a recurring theme or moral was hard to identify. I felt it did not deeply explore an aspect of the human condition which would be striking or touching. This is partly because the quality of language and the way it flowed was somewhat disappointing. Written in the first person, the plot was sometimes confusing and, for me, the writing lost the authority and knowledge expressed by the impersonal voice in third person works. As a result of it being in a diary format, the use of metaphors and elegant description was limited. Despite this, the main character’s thoughts were impacting and enhanced which made the book engaging.
I liked how the plot led you to unexpected places while still revolving around a few central characters. It was imaginative and brought out emotive elements in the characters. The author cleverly tied in the views on the Home front with Annabelle’s personal battles. The action and conversations were depicted well, although I felt the end was too rushed and didn’t leave a lasting impact or underlying meaning. You slowly solve the mystery with Annabelle which makes you feel involved in the narrative, yet at the end the story and characters slowly leave making the conclusion seem, to me, a bit empty.
I think that this book would appeal to younger readers because of its simpler language. For me I enjoy novels exploring truth and reality, which I thought this novel only skimmed the surface of. I think that teenagers might find the story lacking in excitement, yet would be intrigued by the plot and the in depth characters. To conclude, I would recommend this book to younger readers because of the engaging plot and historical information, although I found the book lacking an overall genre or purpose. The style of writing was less inspiring, and I probably wouldn’t read from this author again, yet I think others would enjoy the emotive style of writing in first person.

Posted on: 5th June 2017 at 10:20 am

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