Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

2016 Dutton


“Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. Soon, she will need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.”


Wolf Hollow broke my heart in a million pieces; The heart I have as an adult and the heart of the child in me. Filled with injustice, the book quickly took me back to the mind of a child, innocent and blind of judgment, cruelty, and knowledge of what’s fair in the bittersweet blessing called life.

I sometimes wonder why books like Wolf Hollow are considered “children’s.” Quite frankly I know more adults who could learn a lesson or two from books like this. As we get older, isn’t it true that we all sometimes take the path of least resistance? Doing what’s easy instead of what’s right? While Annabelle’s parents are blessings, supportive of her and loving,  we do see this mindset a bit in them. Which makes me sad. Why do we lose the righteous voice inside all of us, to speak without fear, as we age, and should then be able to stand mightily?

But I had learned over the past weeks, that believing in something doesn’t always make it so.” Annabelle is a remarkable girl. Wolf Hollow is as much a coming of age story as it is a book of life lessons. At 11, Annabelle is turning the page from a child ignorant of the world’s unfairness, to a child now aware of how cruel it can be. This change happens in us all, some earlier than others, the time where we see the world for what it is, and no longer for what we wish it to be.

I loved the regional language in this book. Even had to look up a couple terms, and wonder if they are still used today? I also found myself somewhat nostalgic, for a time that I’ve never even known. Where towns people were close, and life seemed a little slower. One room school houses that gave as good an education as the public city ones, and family farms that provided for everyone in need. Where everyone knows everyone, and working on the farm was as valued as an expensive ivy league education.  A world where expectation was simpler.

We also see the value of life in this book. All life. And how easily one can be made into something they’re not but smallmindedness, judgment and hate. Sometimes once the truth is revealed, it is often too late, and innocent people get hurt in the process.

Wolf Hollow is one of my favorite books I’ve ever read, hands down. A beautiful and heartbreaking tale for everyone.

“Our old barn taught me one of the most important lessons I was ever to learn: that the extraordinary can live in the simplest things.” ~ Annabelle



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