Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

61uonxdctxlWolf Hollow is a middle grade novel written by Lauren Wolk. This book had been on my radar since before it was published, and I finally got around to reading it a couple of weeks ago.

Annabelle lives with her family in a small Pennsylvania town called Wolf Hollow. The year is 1943, and there is a war going on, but life is relatively peaceful in their bucolic corner. That changes when Betty Glengarry is sent to Wolf Hollow to live with her grandparents. It is known that Betty was sent away because of her behavior, and instead of changing her ways in her new surroundings, she bullies Annabelle and her brothers.

Betty proves that she is conniving and manipulative when she begins to blame Toby for acts that she has committed. Toby was not born in Wolf Hollow, but he has been living in the countryside around the town for several years. He lives like a hermit, and keeps his interactions with other people to a minimum. He has always been a benign presence, but Betty’s claims call his trustworthiness into question. When Betty disappears, Toby is implicated.

Wolf Hollow is an insightful novel. Annabelle begins the book by telling the reader “The year I turned twelve, I learned to lie. The year I turned twelve, I learned what I said and what I did mattered.” Annabelle does lie, but her lies are for the greater good. She lies to protect the innocent, and because the truth has been distorted, and she needs to do what is right. For me, the most eye-opening scene was one that demonstrates the power of perception. Assumptions are made and judgment is passed, but what are these impressions based upon and how accurate are they?

I would recommend Wolf Hollow for middle grade readers, and I think it would appeal to older readers as well. The events of this book are going to stay with me- why was Betty so cruel? Did she realize what she setting into motion? Did she mean for all of this to happen? I am looking forward to reading more from Wolk in the future.

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