Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Synopsis: 1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.

At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.

Review: There are not quite words that I can exactly put into this novel, at least not without setting it up. First of all, I was on a vacation, my first in nearly 5 years to be exact, and though I couldn't afford to truly go anywhere (not without major house savings being lost) I chose to read the entire length of it. 

I ended my vacation with this book, and a very big part of me wished I hadn't only because of the impact that it had. It felt good to cry, don't get me wrong, but I left this book simply wanting more. I wanted for Uncle Finn to magically come back to life and for Toby and he to live again. But as I sat there on the end of my couch, my book covering my face so that my husband couldn't see that I was quietly sobbing into it's pages I realized that this one was something special. 

The travel back in time through the 1980's I've realized is one of my absolute favorite things, and I cherish every book I can get on it. A product of the era myself I recall all of these little bits of style fondly, and this book much like Sidecar by Amy Lane really made me pine for the times. 

June was just like me in school, in ways that I can not even describe, but most of all she and I shared the same sense of life. Her outfits reminded me of everything that I wore, even her hair in it's long braid to match her flowing skirt--the only thing I was missing was her killer great boots. But do moccasins count?

The book shocked me really, and coming from a life long LGBT activist I could see where my own thoughts were at such a young age. June wasn't as accepting as I was, but I think her bit of anti-Toby came more from a place of love for her uncle than of his lifestyle. 

I gave this book a 5/5 stars because I feel that the Author was very bold in making a Young Adult book with such a very forward approach to a subject that is very much on the rise (and has been for generations). It always pleases me to see that more and more LGBT topics are filtered into our society as the norm. This book wasn't a coming out story so much as a coming to age tale that really hasn't been told before. You follow June as she is exposed to Life, Love, and AIDS. 

Go check it out.

~Lillian Brittany


This was my first library book I borrowed in nearly my entire life. I normally don't like to check things out as I like to keep copies of books on my shelves like trophies. So when I returned this one it was with a heavy heart. However, it shall be on my shelf soon! 


  1. It's still sitting on my desk from where you returned it to the library :) I hope to read it soon!