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Tell the Wolves I'm Home

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  69,631 ratings  ·  8,951 reviews
In this striking literary debut, Carol Rifka Brunt unfolds a moving story of love, grief, and renewal as two lonely people become the unlikeliest of friends and find that sometimes you don’t know you’ve lost someone until you’ve found them.

1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Fi
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 2012)
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Michelle Samson I liked this book, but I also did not understand the title of the book/painting. Nor did I understand the wolf in the painting itself.
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenInsurgent by Veronica RothGone Girl by Gillian FlynnCity of Lost Souls by Cassandra ClarePandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Best Books of 2012
57th out of 3,037 books — 9,384 voters
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenGone Girl by Gillian FlynnTell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka BruntThe Round House by Louise ErdrichThe Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
2013 Tournament of Books Watch List
3rd out of 63 books — 387 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Posted at Shelf Inflicted

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that left me completely speechless. I am struggling to find words to express how deeply this story affected me. I read a few reviews and decided it wasn’t for me. My closest friend, Mark, died of AIDS in 1995 and I wasn’t in the mood for anything that may trigger sad memories. Nor was I in the mood to read of the painful and joyful reminiscences of a 14-year-old girl who lost her beloved uncle to the disease. I’m so glad Jason’s r

I take one one one cause you left me and
Two two two for my family and
3 3 3 for my heartache and
4 4 4 for my headaches and
5 5 5 for my lonely and
6 6 6 for my sorrow and
7 7 for no tomorrow and
8 8 I forget what 8 was for and
9 9 9 for a lost god and
10 10 10 10 for everything everything everything everything

this book is everything everything everything everything. i don't even know where to start.

you book-criers?? this is for you. i didn't, naturally, but god how i wanted to. this is the most poignan
When I was in high school, there was this art teacher that nobody liked. She came in to replace another teacher who'd been transferred, and she liked to tell everyone in a really loud voice that (a) our school was a fucking dump and we should feel lucky to have her teaching there, and (b) your art is shit. You're shit. You should feel like shit.

She was never my actual teacher, so I had more neutral feelings toward her. She did, however, cover my class during my teacher's sick days, of which ther
5 Stars

This is my favorite read of the year so far in 2012. Tell the Wolves I’m Home is an incredible debut novel, a coming of age story that is masterfully told. Some will view this as a tragedy, as a story of loss and missed opportunities, a story about the hard truths about living. Others will see this as a tale of poignant beauty, a coming of age tale, and story that hits home on the greatest things of life. While it may really hit both spectrums that I just mentioned, it does so in a lyric
The sun kept on with its slipping away, and I thought how many small good things in the world might be resting on the shoulders of something terrible. ~Tell the Wolves I'm Home
I don't know how to write a review for this book. I've made a few false starts already. It's always SO HARD to review the exceptional, the beautiful, the sincere and heartfelt. When what you've just read humbles you, when it so keenly reminds you of the raw power of storytelling -- of why we read in the first place -- it
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Apr 12, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: The passionate youth lurking within
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Jeannie
Whoever wrote the book blurb should be shot…if it wasn’t for my wonderfully pushy friends I’d have passed and missed out on a fabulous book. There’s an honesty to Brunt’s writing, simple and restrained. Dealing with loss, illicit love, teenage angst & sibling rivalry you’d think it’d be grim but it’s not - pathos nicely balanced with gentle humour.
With resentment & envy pulling them apart Brunt portrays a family fracturing at the seams, then chooses the painting of a portrait to draw t
There's this trend of young-adult (themed) novels for them to be predicated on the concept of the child main character being this misunderstood wunderkind that thinks they are universally disliked when in fact they are loved by everyone. It's terribly boring and terribly indulgent. I think it's not a necessary evil or fact of the genre, but just something that occurs as a result of ham fisted characterisation and writing.

There are good elements to this book—it explores complex and overwhelming
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

The year is 1987 and June has just lost the most important person in her life to AIDS. After the death of her Uncle Finn, June makes an unlikely friend and learns some hard truths about her family and herself.

Please note you will NOT get me to change my opinion, so if you just loveloveloved Tell the Wolves I’m Home and can’t understand how anyone could not – you should probably move along. I know I have chosen the road less taken, but
Stacia (the 2010 club)
It's the most unhappy people who want to stay alive, because they think they haven't done everything they want to do.

My thoughts and reactions have always been mixed when it comes to books which take the reader on a reflective stroll. Fast-paced would never come to mind, nor would action-packed. Words like "slow" and "quiet" tend to fall more in line with these types of reads. All too often, I find myself wondering what I've gotten myself into when I pick up books such as these. Just about e
Final rating: /


Second: My heart is shattered into million pieces.

I was surprised when i saw that this book was shelved as glbt. I didn't expect it though, but now that i have read this book, it makes more sense. It's a passive glbt story. But i highly recommend to everyone to read this one, because it's such emotional roller coaster . I cried in almost every chapter, because most of things that happened were just unfair.

The stor
Emily May
“The sun kept on with its slipping away, and I thought how many small good things in the world might be resting on the shoulders of something terrible.”

When I was about seven or eight, I was at my friend's house drawing pictures and playing with dolls or whatever we were doing. I don't remember the exact circumstances leading up to what happened, but on this day my friend put her hand underneath my school skirt and touched me. Being older now, I realize it was just childish exploration and tha
I am not a reader that willing walks into a tear jerker or an emotionally evocative book knowingly. Why? I am silly sensitive person that gets completely enmeshed in the world created by writers and I can’t let go of that world once I am in it. I walked into Tell The Wolves I’m Home understanding that it was a powerful book dealing with death and grief, but I was not prepared for how it would affect me. The thing I forget about books that make me cry are that those books, when done right and wri ...more
When I finished this book, I felt overwhelmed. Like every bit of beautiful writing and bittersweet emotion had filled my heart and made it ready to burst. There are some books that you finish and think "thank goodness I'm a reader" or "thank goodness I got to read this one." Tell The Wolves I'm Home is one of those books, and easily the best book I've read in 2012.

It's not like the story was a loud one. Our fourteen-year-old protagonist, June Elbus, enjoys spending time in solitude or with her u
I enjoyed every bit of this book!

June is a fourteen year old girl who is kind of on the quirky side. She feels like she doesn’t belong to her time and imagines she’s in the middle ages, she wears medieval boots given to her by her uncle Finn. She also has talent for visual art, but she doesn’t quite believe it.

Finn is dying from AIDS when the virus was new and little was known about it. He’s a famous New York artist, and before he dies he wishes to paint a portrait of his nieces, June and Greta
I have been having a difficult time writing this review. There I said it. Mostly, I think, because this story touched my inner bits. I did not anticipate that, nor did my soft, little underbelly. It is a sad story and I know and confess that for years and years I avoided these kinds of things, I was looking for happy, shiny thoughts, not this, so it is funny then, that it has also brought back memories of the very best chapters of my life.

I don’t even know where to begin.

This book read me.

It is
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

Unpopular opinion time!! I know a lot of people love this book (I don't think I have a single friend who hasn't rated this AT LEAST four stars), but this book is a perfect example of schlocky litfic:

1. A "quirky older than her age" protagonist who thinks she's ugly and unloved when she's clearly not.

2. Vile, dysfunctional, borderline abusive relationships within immediate family.

3. Someone who suffers and/or dies from cancer or a disease.

4. ANGST!!!

5. Characters that are meant to b
Jun 18, 2012 Mitch rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People older than I
Complex. Powerful. Poignant. Incredibly sad. Tell the Wolves I'm Home is a beautifully written novel, and I sort of feel guilty for not enjoying it as much as I should have. But I had a hard time connecting with the eighties settings, sadly it's all a little before my time, and everything was just a bit too depressing, so I can't say I had any fun while reading this novel either.

But Carol Rifka Brunt does an amazing job writing, setting the mood, crafting June's character. It's surprising, becau
Barbara (VampAngel)
This is hard to rate for me. The book is good and I even cried a few times, but I wasn't fond of the narrator, June. I really tried to like her, but it was such hard work. I'm sure plenty of people will like her, but for some reason we butted heads. She's not the too stupid to live variety, and she is just 14. However, she is also selfish and self absorbed and petty, which I guess makes her a very real 14 year-old. She had great qualities too, but she just rubbed me the wrong way. I would have g ...more
Brendon Schrodinger
Tell the Wolves I'm Home is a deceptive book. Reading the blurb or a summary and you'd think this was your average 80s or 90s after school special. Teenage girl who doesn't fit in, estranged from her overworked parents and her sister who is more cool than she is and grieving an uncle who died of AIDS, the only person who truly understood her. Surely this won teen fic awards in the 90s and was written by the hip author of time.

But despite that premise the book does take off. At the beginning I w
Sometimes, friends, I forget what it’s like to read Grown-Up Books.

This is a job hazard, you understand, since most of the books I’m asked to know about about involve vampires and/or fallen angels and/or wizards and/or the occasional wide-eyed manga character and/or titles that include bylines a la “The Next Hunger Games!”

So those sort of take priority.

It means, though, that when I do settle down with a (well written) Grown-Up Book, they tend to leave me sort of breathless and shocky. All “Oh, y
Gary  the Bookworm
Back in the halcyon days of the 1950's American kids basically raised themselves. Once you demonstrated that you could cross the street without getting run over you were basically on your own until night fall. Yesterday's benign neglect has morphed into more modern trends like tiger moms and helicopter parents but savvy kids still manage to put things over on their folks. The two teenage sisters at the center of Tell the Wolves I'm Home don't have to try very hard because they're being raised by ...more
''Yalnızca dünyanın en mutsuz insanları sonsuza dek yaşamayı ister, çünkü hayatları boyunca istedikleri hiçbir şeyi yapamadıklarını düşünürler. Yeterince zamanları olmadığını, hayattan paylarına düşeni alamadıklarını hissederler.''

*Ön Söz*

Bu kitabı okumaya başladığımda, arka kısmında okuduğum şeyler haricinde başka hiçbir şey bilmiyordum; ne olduğu hakkında bir fikir edinmek için bakmaya yeltendim, ancak bir farklılık olsun diyen iç sesime uyarak son anda vazgeçtim. Bir kitaba başlamadan önce
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
Sweet sad story. I just stepped back in time with June to the time this story was set. I was that nerdy girl that just didn't feel like she fit in anywhere. This book will break your heart but then restore your soul.
A heartbreaking, but compassionately told coming of age story that kept me glued to my seat. Wonderful debut novel!
"Watching people is a good hobby, but you have to be careful about it. You can’t let people catch you staring at them. If people catch you, they treat you like a first-class criminal. And maybe they’re right to do that. Maybe it should be a crime to try to see things about people they don’t want you to see."

2.5* really - but rounded up.

I usually try and stay away from YA literature, but was persuaded to pick this one up because a couple of friends, who usually share my hesitation about YA, recom
B the BookAddict
Sep 04, 2014 B the BookAddict rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Angela
Shelves: young-adult

In 1986, June is 14 years old and her beloved uncle Finn who is her godfather and her best friend, is painting a portrait of June and her sister Greta. He's painting their portrait because he's dying: dying of Aids; that mysterious illness which has just begun it's rampage. His death brings a new loneliness to June's life. She's a bit of a dork, wishes she lives in Medieval Times, runs wild in the woods behind her school and wears medieval type boots. She feels inferior to her over-achieving sis
I’ve been playing this weird reading game with the books in my personal library lately. I don’t ever buy books on a whim. I usually either know what they’re about, or have heard of them through a second hand source, like a review or an NPR author interview. In the last few years however, my memory has gotten very shoddy, so I’m starting to have a hard time remembering why I bought certain books, or what they’re even about without reading the dust jacket. That’s where the dangerous fun comes into ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Feb 22, 2015 Ivonne Rovira rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: Lisa Eggers for a Great Escape Buddy Read
First and foremost, I would love to thank Lisa Eggers and all of my special sisters of The Great Escape, who were the impetus to my reading this book. I would likely have had good intentions about eventually reading it, but never quite have gotten around to it.

And what a loss that would have been! As Great Escape sister Randee noted, “I haven’t liked a kid narrator this much since Emma Graham in Martha Grimes series” (viz., The Hotel Paradise, Cold Flat Junction, Belle Ruin, and Fadeaway Girl).
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Has anyone else read this fabulous book? 5 41 Jul 25, 2015 02:37AM  
A Million More Pages: Tell the Wolves I'm Home: Jul 23 1 2 Jul 02, 2015 02:44PM  
Coffee & Books: April 2015: Tell The Wolves I'm Home 13 46 Jun 25, 2015 11:58PM  
Love behind this story 3 55 Mar 18, 2015 07:34AM  
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“Maybe I was destined to forever fall in love with people I couldn’t have. Maybe there’s a whole assortment of impossible people waiting for me to find them. Waiting to make me feel the same impossibility over and over again.” 646 likes
“I really wondered why people were always doing what they didn't like doing. It seemed like life was a sort of narrowing tunnel. Right when you were born, the tunnel was huge. You could be anything. Then, like, the absolute second after you were born, the tunnel narrowed down to about half that size. You were a boy, and already it was certain you wouldn't be a mother and it was likely you wouldn't become a manicurist or a kindergarten teacher. Then you started to grow up and everything you did closed the tunnel in some more. You broke your arm climbing a tree and you ruled out being a baseball pitcher. You failed every math test you ever took and you canceled any hope of ever being a scientist. Like that. On and on through the years until you were stuck. You'd become a baker or a librarian or a bartender. Or an accountant. And there you were. I figured that on the day you died, the tunnel would be so narrow, you'd have squeezed yourself in with so many choices, that you just got squashed.” 398 likes
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