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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

AR Level: 4.9
AR Points: 9.0
AR Quiz Number: 182585
Lexile Level: 800
Intended Grade Level: 5th and Up
Page Count: 291

Of everything that I have read this school year, Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk is the novel that sticks with me the most and I will  likely never forget. Featuring a young girl living in the space between two world wars, Wolf Hollow weaves a tale of tension, moral questioning, and interpersonal struggle. Faced with one of the most well crafted bullies and realistic villains I have read in years, this book makes readers stop and consider their perceptions of those around them, remeasuring their  judgements and questioning their own reactions.

When bully Betty Glengarry moves into Wolf Hollow, our protagonist Annabelle is forced to leave childish things behind as she struggles to address her new neighbor. The harassment escalates to a boiling point, people get hurt, fingers are pointed, and an odd drifter with a questionable past is thrown into the spotlight of small town suspicion. Will Annabelle be able to prove who is guilty and who is innocent before it is too late? My students were dying to find out.

I recently reread this book, this time it was out loud and to a group of middle schoolers. My middle schoolers have a particular distaste for anything resembling historical fiction, so I knew the first few chapters might be difficult to keep them engaged. Lauren Wolk masterfully begins (and occasionally ends) early chapters with reflective lead-ins, warning of the drama to come, and that alone was enough to pique my students' interest. It wasn't long before they were begging me to read more and scolding their neighbors who weren't as focused.

Wolf Hollow is not a happy tale. It takes on serious topics and happenings, and it does not have the type of ending that sends readers skipping away. Instead, prepare to flip the final page, close the book tight, and stair off into space for a while digesting what you and Annabelle have just been through. Of everything I have read, this is my Newbery pick for the year. I guess I won't have to wait much longer to find out (announcements are tomorrow!).

For more information on Wolf Hollow, check out the link below: