The Wolves Are Watching

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The Wolves Are Watching
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 04, 2022
ISBN
978-0593351093
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A fresh, compelling, and eerie exploration of small-town living, stolen children, and wolves that watch in the woods.

The night little Madison disappears from her crib, Luce sees a pair of eyes--two points of gold deep in the forest behind her house--and feels certain they belong to a wolf. Her town, Picnic, Illinois, is the kind of place where everyone knows one another and no one locks their doors. It’s not the kind of place where a toddler goes missing without a trace, where wolves lurk in the shadows.
 
In town, people are quick to blame Madison’s mom. But when Luce’s English teacher shares an original script about the disappearance of another little girl in Picnic back in 1870, Luce begins to notice similarities that she can’t ignore. Certain that something deeper is going on, Luce tracks the wolf she saw into the woods and uncovers the truth about her town: magical animal-women, who have remained hidden in shadows for centuries, have taken her cousin for their own purposes--and they have no intention of bringing her back. 
 
A chilling mystery that weaves elements of magical realism, drama, and folklore into a story of one teen’s bravery as she confronts her town’s past and tries to save the future.

Editor review

1 review
intriguing YA magical realism
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
THE WOLVES ARE WATCHING is an intriguing magical realism read that transports the reader to Picnic, a small town with big secrets. Luce is 15 years old and developing a crush on her BFF, Anders. Her life is thrown for a loop when her young cousin, Madison, disappears from her crib at night. The whole town is searching for what could have happened, and everyone moves on when things seem good enough. However, Luce is noticing something strange about it all, and as she searches deeper, she learns about a history of similar disappearances that are possibly linked to the supernatural.

In addition to Luce's perspective, the reader follows Fanya, a mythological creature who can take any form. Her pack lives outside Picnic and distrusts People Only after the ways they have been mistreated in the past. As she also experiences this time before Halloween, her perspectives are also changing and making her question her own past.

What I loved: This is a really compelling read with a bit of mystery around the disappearance of Madison. The reader is brought into it fairly quickly, but the resolution remains uncertain with the story told from both sides. Themes around family, connection between mother and child, maltreatment of mental illness and women, trust, and self-confidence are thought-provoking throughout.

Luce is a compelling character who is in between child and adult, beginning to find her own path and gain confidence in her own decisions. While her mother has rules that she must follow, Luce is charting her own path, but learning how to do so safely and without breaking trust. Luce pays attention to her family and begins to investigate on her own, using the information she has gathered. Her determination and persistence is something that she gains pride and confidence in as the story continues. Her power as well as that of Fanya are growing and adjusting as they come into their own.

Fanya was also a really intriguing character. She does not remember a time before her pack, but as the time to the ritual draws closer, she begins to question what she knows and who she will be. Self-determination and charting your own path are themes that Luce and Fanya have in common, and both perspectives really propel the story forward.

What left me wanting more: As a small thing, the story with Anders felt a bit confusing in places, and I would have appreciated more background/resolution of the conflict there or to have less of it. It felt distracting from the main story and was a bit tough to fully get into.

Final verdict: Enthralling and mysterious, THE WOLVES ARE WATCHING is a compelling YA magical realism that will keep the reader on their toes.
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