From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Herrick's verse style perfectly suits this emotionally taut survival story. Sixteen-year-old Lucy has turned bitter and cynical from her farming family's strained relationships caused by her father's physical and emotional abuse. In direct contrast is the other family in this near-barren valley, whose farm's relative prosperity reflects the loving and respectful relationship shared between 15-year-old Jake and his parents. As a young man, Jake's father was sure that he'd seen a wolf, an animal not found in Australia, and now a predator has started picking off his sheep. Lucy thinks it is the descendant of a dog that became wild after her father abused it. The two teens set off on a hike into the mountains to find it after Lucy claims to know where the animal lives. Jake is intent on discovering whether his father is right or wrong, while Lucy just wants to escape from her family and hasn't told anyone where she's going. However, Jake injures his foot in a fall and the two take shelter in a cave and find emotional solace (and romance). Lucy knows that life will be better when she returns home to find that her mother finally confronted her husband and convinced him to leave. Readers will find this novel compelling, its fast-moving narrative rewarding, and the emotions pitched directly at high school readers.—Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"I'm not sure what hurts more / his ugly words, / his backhanders, / or watching Mum seeing it all / and doing nothing." Lucy, 16, is furious and afraid of her violent father. On the neighboring sheep farm in a remote part of the Australian outback, her classmate Jake is close with his dad, bonded through their work together. Is the howling animal they hear at night the wolf that Jake's dad swears he encountered in the bush? Or is it the dog that Lucy's abusive dad drove away? The terse, free verse in short, clear lines moves fast as Jake and Lucy take off together, Jake to find the wolf, Lucy to escape. When Jake falls, she cares for him in a cave, they make out in bliss, and she returns home transformed. Lucy's dad is portrayed as a two-dimensional monster, but that is true to her viewpoint. Telling the story through the teens' alternating narratives, the poetry is plain and beautiful, and the blend of family drama, romance, and perilous adventure will grab readers. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved