The other day tweet from Laura about how I was going to make sure I finished Tell The Wolves I'm Home because of all the sads. And then on my way home that night the train in front of me hit...something* and we were delayed. Which mean I had loads of time to do nothing but read and my phone was almost dead so I couldn't keep screwing around on there. And that's how I ended up crying on the train and DAMMIT, IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN THAT WAY.
I would like to start this review by directing you over to Megs' review because it says everything I want to say only better, and also is the main reason I picked up this book in the first place. Or at least the reason I added it to my TBR. Finding it on sale at Costco is why it got picked up.**
I know I already told you about how this book hits you in the feels, but it's in a good way. And that's not all there is to it. June is a misunderstood teen. I know what you're thinking, aren't they all? But June is. She's awkward and a loner, she used to be close with her sister but at some point they've grown apart. she wishes she lived in another time, specifically Renaissance time. She likes to wander into the woods behind the school, wear the special boots her uncle gave her and a Renaissance dress that's far too small and pretend she's actually a Renaissance maiden. So yeah, she doesn't have too many friends. But she has her Uncle Finn, so she's good. He understands her, lets her be who she is, and is always there for her. Until he isn't.
Don't worry, that isn't a spoiler. It's the set up. Because when Finn is no longer there for June she finds someone else she'd never before met who misses Finn as much as she does.
I know Megs did this too but it is really hard to talk about this book without some mild spoilers. They're spoilers that I don't think will mess up the book AT ALL if you haven't read it yet but in case you want to go in without knowing anything you should prob stop now. And then go read the book right now because it's really good. Really, really good.
*Really minor spoilers that you're probably safe to read but fair warning*
June is torn by this stranger Toby turning up, because here is someone that knows all about a Finn she never knew. But it also means that she wasn't everything to Finn like Finn was to her. There were many times I wanted to yell at June for being so mean, but then again her angry, her defensiveness, her frustration, is understandable. Learning that she isn't the only one who misses Finn so much is both a blessing and a curse.
The story isn't just about June and Toby. It's also June's family and their relationships. Particularly June and Greta, her great-at-everything older sister. And then there's June's mother and her relationship both with June and with her brother Finn. Everyone in the family is dealing with loss in different ways. And different losses.
This book made me angry at the '80s. I guess it's hard to blame them. AIDS was a new disease and no one really knew much about it or how it was spread but just that if you got it, it wasn't good. And also you probably deserved what you got because you brought it on yourself because did I mention people are terrible? Because they can be. Especially when they're scared and confused. I have vague memories of a Sesame Street telling you all the ways you couldn't catch AIDS, like giving someone a hug.
There's so much more I want to say but to do that will get into larger spoilers that I don't think would mess up the story if you already knew them but then again, who knows they might. So I'll stop talking about the plot.
I already told you about the sads. I mean, it's a book about AIDS and death so of course it's sad but even these sads aren't the focus. It's about more than that. I wasn't angry at the book for making me cry. I was angry at the book for making me cry on the train, but that was really the fault with the book being so good that even though I knew the sads would be coming I had to read in, public be damned.
I didn't realize this was YA while I was reading it. I really don't think I can pick out YA if asked to. It has a teenage protagonist but that's about it. Maybe that's enough? I guess I don't know enough about the genre, but yeah, if you're avoiding this one because you don't read YA you're doing yourself a disservice. It's also a quick read. Because you can't put it down. Even if you're now crying on the train.
*They originally thought it was a someone, which is happening with surprising frequency, but I'm guessing since we were only stuck for around 30 min that it was a something. They didn't say.
**And apparently this is specifically a "for Costco" copy of the book. It even has a "Dear Costco Readers" thing from the author at the beginning.
Title quote from page 354
Brunt, Carol Rifka. Tell The Wolves I'm Home. Dial Press Trade Paperback, 2012.