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The Wolf Hardcover – March 1, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. 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
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From Booklist

"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 Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 9 and up
  • Hardcover: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Front Street, Incorporated; First Edition edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932425756
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932425758
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,230,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Herrick is an Australian poet and author who has published twenty-one books for children and young adults. His books have twice won the NSW Premiers Literary Award (2000, 2005) and have been shortlisted seven times for Book of the Year in the Children's Book Council of Australia Book Awards.
He regularly tours throughout Australia, Asia and Europe performing his work in schools and at festivals.
in 2012, he published his first travel book, 'baguettes and bicycles: a cycling adventure across France.' This was followed by 'bordeaux and bicycles: a cycling journey along the canals of France' and 'bratwurst and bicycles: a cycling adventure along the Danube.'
He is an avid football (soccer) fan and cyclist who lives in the Blue Mountains with his wife, Cathie. They have two adult sons, Jack and Joe.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Lucy is worn down by the physical and emotional abuse from her father. Nothing she ever does is right. Her mother provides zero support by allowing her father to continue the abuse. Lucy feels as though she is totally alone.

Jake has a wonderful life and family. They work together on their Australian farm and enjoy each other's company. A story his father always tells is about when he saw The Wolf. His father was twenty years old when he saw what looked like a wolf while he was fishing. The wolf came to the creek to get a drink of water. They made eye contact and then the wolf ran away. His father never saw the wolf again. People say he never saw one at all. Wolves don't live in Australia, people say.

Recently, howling has been heard every night. Of course, Jake is thinking of the wolf, desperately wanting to see him for himself. He wants to be able to share the experience with his father and prove to everyone who has ever doubted him that his father was right all along.

Living in the same community, Lucy and Jake know each other. They just don't know each other well. One day Jake and Lucy see each other at the creek between their houses. They begin to talk about the wolf and wanting to see it. Lucy sees this as a way to escape from her abusive father and tells Jake she know where it lives. They make plans to leave the next morning to find it. Along the way they experience tragedy and discovery. Lucy realizes the strength she has inside and is able to use it help Jake in more ways than one.

Steven Herrick has written an emotional survival story. The alternating points of view allow the reader insight into each character. THE WOLF is told in verse, which moves the story at a fast pace. If you like stories dealing with family struggles and first love, this would be a good choice for you.

Reviewed by: Karin Perry
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