SUMMER OF THE WOLVES
Author: Kline, Lisa Williams
Review Issue Date: May 15, 2012
Online Publish Date: April 18, 2012
Price ( Hardcover ): $10.99
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-310-72613-5
Series: Sisters in All Seasons
Blended families that resist blending are a middle-grade–fiction staple, but this funny, gentle and compassionate story feels fresh, thanks to appealing, closely observed characters, both major and minor, and a compelling setting.
In alternating chapters, Diana and Stephanie describe their eventful week at a rustic North Carolina resort where Diana’s mom and Stephanie’s dad have arranged their new family’s first vacation. Both girls are entering eighth grade, but Diana, having repeated third grade, is older. Burdened with an unspecified mood disorder, she’s a difficult kid—inattentive, impetuous, angry—bonding more deeply with animals, especially horses, than people. Pretty, timid Stephanie is smart and kind but anxious about horses and river rafting; Diana tries her patience and exacerbates her fears. Each—her self-confidence shaken by family breakup and reconfiguration—pushes the other’s buttons until, in a rare bonding moment, they set two captive wolves free. However, the fallout from their “good deed” will have unpredictable consequences on those around them, human and animal. Mitigating the damage will take individual soul searching and cooperation. While drawing from several well-known Cherokee tales, Kline avoids didacticism; the girls’ discoveries, flowing from their natures and experience, feel earned. Recognizing how much of life they can’t control is tough but liberating, freeing them to focus on what is within their power: their own responses.
A fresh take on an old story. (Fiction. 8-12)
— John Peters, Kirkus Reviews, www.kirkusreviews.com
September 12, 2012
Summer of the Wolves
Kline, Lisa Williams (Author)
May 2012. 240 p. Zonderkidz, hardcover, $10.99. (9780310726135)
Daredevil Diana loves all animals, especially horses, and has to take medication to help her manage her emotions, while Stephanie is quiet and a homebody. Now stepsisters, the girls’ aren’t thrilled by their parents’ expectations that they become good friends, but a family trip to a ranch in North Carolina might make it happen. When Diana discovers two penned-up wolves in the forest, she vows to set them free, and surprisingly Stephanie sneaks out to help. The girls soon realize they’ve more harm than good, and they must work together to try to rectify the situation. Kline showcases the difficulties of making blended families work without offering pat answers, and the result is a nicely crafted novel, told from the two girls’ perspectives in alternating chapters. With a little romance, and some truly breathtaking scenery, this novel—the first in a four-part series—neatly covers all its bases.
— Melissa Moore
"Cleverly crafted and close to home for many modern families, 'Summer of the Wolves' is a great read! Lisa Williams Kline is a gifted storyteller, weaving themes of loyalty, popularity, and hierarchy into this tale for animal lovers. Kline provides a glimpse into the life of a blended family. The characters are beautifully flawed and feel real-to-life and instantly relatable. Whether you identify with Diana, the standoffish loner who sees a therapist for mood issues, or Stephanie, the easygoing but prim girl afraid of the world, you’ll find a character to root for. ..."
- (The Dove Foundation)
Sisters in All Seasons
Slush Pile: A publishing industry term referring to the "pile" of manuscript submissions an editor has on his or her desk (and inbox) at any given time, typically unsolicited and unagented.
Read the whole series!
Summer of the Wolves, by Lisa Williams Kline
Sisters in All Seasons: Book 1
Contemporary, realistic fiction, ages 9-12