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Lauren Wolk’s Wolf Hollow begins in this remarkable you-simply-cannot-put-this-book-down way:
and for the rest of your reading time you are completely caught within the web of this haunting, unforgettable story.
Annabelle has grown up within the safety and loving comfort of her small farming community in Pennsylvania, where no one has much or seems to want much beyond tending to one’s land and family, and nurturing both with a gentle love. But, Annabelle is wise enough to sense that the “dark-hearted girl” of the prologue, Betty Glengarry, is cut from a different cloth. Betty’s footsteps, Annabelle notes, “were deep and sharp and suggested that she was more freighted than she could possibly be.”
Betty begins a reign of terror over Annabelle and various schoolmates, before she seems to set her sights on Toby. A reclusive World War I veteran, Toby is shrouded in mystery – why does he live in an abandoned cabin deep in the woods? what is the story behind the terrible scars on his hand? what does he roam the countryside with guns strapped to his back? And when evil begins to occur, everyone seems to believe the story that Betty tells: that it is Toby who is to blame and must be punished.
But Annabelle has seen what Betty is capable of, and so she sets out to prove Toby’s innocence…which lands her in a whole heap of trouble, more than she had quite bargained for or imagined possible.
Lauren Wolk writes brilliantly, and this coming of age story is also about searching for truth and not allowing prejudice to stand in the way of justice. Annabelle must learn, as we all do at one time or another, this:
The year I turned twelve, I learned that what I said and what I did mattered.
So much, sometimes, that I wasn’t sure I wanted such a burden.
But I took it anyway, and I carried it as best as I could.