Recommended for: Middle Grade Readers
Thank you Netgalley, Penguin Group, Dutton Books for Young Readers, and Lauren Wolk for selecting me to read and review a digital ARC copy of this book.
"But Wolf Hollow was also where I learned to tell the truth in that year before I turned twelve: about things from which refuge was impossible. Wrong, even. No matter how tempting."
Wolf Hollow tells the story of 11 year old Annabelle and her journey from a carefree child to a deeper, young lady full of character and conviction. Annabelle lives with her family on a Pennsylvania farm during a time between the end of World War I and the start of World War II. Annabelle and her brothers Henry and James attend a one room school house a short walk from their farm. Each day is relatively the same until Betty Glengarry moves to Wolf Hollow. Due to her parents troubles, she has moved in with her grandparents, and now attends the same school as Annabelle and her brothers.
From the minute Betty arrives, she is downright AWFUL. She is truly a mean and cruel girl devoid of any conscience or empathy for others. Unfortunately she chooses our kind, loving protagonist as the target of her wrath. She meets up with her on the path to school and threatens to hurt Annabelle and her brothers if Annabelle doesn't bring her things. Annabelle tries to solve her own problems and deal with Betty herself, but as the problems grow and Betty becomes more cruel and violent, things spiral out of control.
One particularly bad confrontation is stopped by the strange, reclusive Toby. He is a World War I veteran who lives in a little shack in the hills and has become friends with Annabelle and her family. He doesn't really talk to anyone and keeps to himself. He is a bit strange, but Annabelle's family looks after him and sends him food occasionally. Toby also has a love for photography, so has borrowed a camera and film from Annabelle's mother. After Toby stands up for Annabelle, Betty turns her wrath on him.
Betty tells multiple lies that put Toby as the target of crimes committed in Wolf Hollow. Annabelle knows first hand of Betty's cruelty and lies and does her best to help. Unfortunately, these accusations are bigger than Annabelle can fix. Annabelle wants desperately to help Toby, but can one small girl speak the truth, and actually have others listen? Annabelle has to find her inner strength and voice if she wants to help Toby. Will the truth actually set him free?
Wolf Hollow is a well written and intriguing historical fiction story. The mystery and injustice will keep readers hooked, rooting for Annabelle and for Toby.