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Tell the Wolves I'm Home: "I am average at English and I am average at math, but I was not going to be average at looking after Toby."

Occasionally in book blogging circles, so many people read/review a book well that you begrudgingly (if you're me) say "FINE. *FINE.* I will read this damn thing." And then you usually like it and are strangely irritated about liking it. "I GUESS you guys are awesome and have awesome opinions. I guess."

I will do this to your faces until we all feel awkward

Tell the Wolves I'm Home, for the two of you who haven't read it, is a first person narration about a girl in the 1980s whose uncle contracts AIDS and dies from it. The uncle (Finn) was her favorite person on earth, and she finds out after he dies that he'd been in a relationship for years with a man named Toby, who is now all alone. The majority of the book is about her friendship with Toby, and this all sounds like a huge bummer, BUT I REALLY LIKED IT AND IT'S REALLY GOOD AND YOU SHOULD READ IT.

You know all those times I'm like "ughhhh this is too sad I can't get into it"? Yeah. This bypasses that by being awesome AND not maudlin. The author handles the sadness deftly, so it's never like "Oh, this is an AIDS book" or "This is a mourning book" -- it's just a book about people and relationships. Meaning it's a novel.

A novel with feels.

The narrator, June, is 14, and does weird shit like dress in medieval-type clothes and go into the woods by herself. 

 "Going into the woods by yourself is the best way to pretend you're in another time." 

 "I can't even really sing, but the thing is, if you close your eyes when you sing in Latin, and if you stand right at the back so you can keep one hand against the cold stone wall of the church, you can pretend you're in the Middle Ages."

I wasn't a huge fan of the antisocial narrator of Fangirl, but with June I think I found more to relate to. Because I TOTALLY went into the woods by myself as a kid and pretended I was in another time. And by "into the woods" I mean into a scrubby bit of brush in my parents' backyard that was only concealed from sight when it was summer because leaves.

And June tries. She really, really tries. Her relationship with her older sister is strained, and she's not sure why. She wants to fix it, but her sister keeps shutting her out because June keeps somehow saying the wrong thing. When she finds out about Finn's partner Toby, she battles jealousy and selfishness with the knowledge that this person knew and loved the same person she did. 

Everything in the book revolves around Finn, who dies very early in the book. All the action and reactions take place because of him having existed on the planet, and even though some of it is bad, I found it to be a beautiful testament to life, and a way of honoring those who died of AIDS when the disease meant social ostracization.


Mainly Tell the Wolves I'm Home is yet another example of a book I wouldn't have picked up on my own, but thanks to the fantastic world of book bloggers and their community, I basically had to. And am really glad I did, because what a damn great story.


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