I rate this book: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Wolf Hollow, by Lauren Wolk, is a New York Times bestseller and has also won various awards such as the Newbery Honor award and the Scott O’dell award. The genre of the book is historical fiction and the recommended audience is age 10 and up. This story follows the protagonist Annabelle, who is 12 years old in the fall of 1943 (during World War II), and lives a quiet and routine life in a small town in rural Pennsylvania.
Everything is normal until the day a new girl named Betty Glengarry comes and changes Annabelle’s world. As soon as Betty moves to town, Annabelle learns that Betty is not like the other kids. One day on her way home from school, Betty stops Annabelle and threatens to hurt her. Annabelle becomes scared and confused about if whether or not she should tell someone that she's being bullied. She starts lying to her family about something being wrong. The next day when she goes back to meet Betty, someone unexpectedly comes and defends her.
The person who defends Annabelle is Toby, a veteran from World War I who lives near her family’s farm, Betty is infuriated when someone gets in her way so she begins to try and frame Toby for multiple crimes. Most people in town think that Toby is very strange since he is quiet and reclusive and they begin to become suspicious. When Annabelle is the only one who knows the truth what can she do to try and clear Toby’s name?
One of the most prominent themes in the story is person versus self. Multiple times throughout Wolf Hollow, you will see characters who have to face some sort of personal challenge and go against what they think they should do. One example of this is when Annabelle’s friend Ruth is seriously hurt in an incident. Annabelle suddenly becomes scared and wishes that everything could go back to normal, but she has to overcome this and try to save Toby who has been framed for the crime. Another example is at the end of the book when Toby has to go way outside of his comfort zone and save someone even though it could be dangerous. This is a huge challenge for Toby because he has a lot of trauma from the war, which usually makes him avoid people.
Not every story has a moral, but this book does and it is definitely that you shouldn’t judge someone because of their appearance. An example in the story of this is how everyone thinks that Betty is innocent because she looks like an innocent little girl and that Toby is dangerous because he is dirty and dressed poorly. “Annabelle, you can stand there in your nightie and make all the proclamations you want, but I don’t see what we can do. It’s out of our hands. Betty’s not going to change her story. Why should she? Everyone thinks she’s the victim. And I can’t really blame them. She looks like one. And Toby looks like a villain, whether he is or not.”
I think that people who enjoy both historical and realistic fiction will like reading this book. In my opinion the story ends feeling very complete, and I am satisfied reading it. The story is very fast paced and keeps moving until the end. I would give this book 4/5 stars and would have given it 5 stars, but for one reason: I thought that Annabelle’s character was unrealistic when it came to how she just so happened to know all the answers to the problems.
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