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Tell the Wolves I'm Home

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  93,189 Ratings  ·  11,252 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
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Ginny Yes, definitely. If you were a teenager in the late '80s you will understand the setting of the book and how pervasive the fear of AIDS was back then.…moreYes, definitely. If you were a teenager in the late '80s you will understand the setting of the book and how pervasive the fear of AIDS was back then. I think that gives 40/50-something readers a strong personal connection to the story that the young adult readers won't have (though they will find their own connections, I'm sure). I'd love to discuss this book with a book club.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-45)
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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
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
Jul 10, 2012 karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

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
Jul 21, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2012
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
Nov 02, 2012 Ben rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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)
Mar 12, 2014 Kelly (and the Book Boar) rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2014
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
Apr 03, 2014 Frankie rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-pdf, 2013, usa
I really liked this book. It was a fairly quick read. I found the relationship between the 2 sisters very believeable and very much like my own relationship with my older sister when we were kids.

I loved finding out more and more about uncle finn.

I felt June was very mature for her age and a good head on her shoulders.
Feel bad for her at parts too like admitting she was in love with her uncle.

The mum was an unlikable, self centered bitch.
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Oct 14, 2012 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it it was amazing
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
Emily May
Apr 08, 2015 Emily May rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary, 2015
“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
Nov 17, 2016 Poonam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-na, buddy-reads
Buddy Read with Murugesh

This is such a beautiful story, it touched my heart and also managed to break it into little pieces....

It is about June, a 14 year old who loses her godfather who is also her uncle and maybe her first love to AIDS.

This story is set in 1987 and during this time Aids was an unknown factor which people were very afraid of. This is one of the thoughts that June has before her uncle dies and she is spending some time with him knowing he isn't going to survive this.
"Yeah, but
Aug 11, 2012 Thomas rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Thomas by: Nancy
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
Jan 09, 2013 Kristalia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who want their feelings crushed to pieces
Final rating: 5/5 stars


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.
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
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
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
Jul 12, 2012 Arah-Lynda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top, i-said
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
Aug 12, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 16, 2016 Philip rated it really liked it
4ish stars.

An emotionally-charged, fairly well-written novel evocative of the joys and pains of growing up.

Brunt gives us some unconventional characters (June, a socially-awkward teenager in love with her gay uncle who has AIDS, and Toby, her uncle's boyfriend who some have labelled "creepy" as he desperately tries to form a bond with June). Sure June makes some stupid decisions, and Toby is kind of strange, but they don't deserve to be given voices any less than Finn, the aforementioned uncle
Richard Derus
Dec 26, 2012 Richard Derus rated it liked it
This review has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.
helen the bookowl
4.5/5 stars.
I finished this book really fast because it was so good and nothing like I expected. I knew that it was going to be a story about AIDS, but I didn't know that it was told from a child's perspective which - in my opinion - gave the story so much more depth. 14-year-old June is very observant and has the most amazing views on life, but she is also very naive and only gradully realizes what has really been going on with Finn, her beloved uncle who suffers from AIDS. When Finn dies (thi
Shelby *trains 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.
Feb 08, 2013 Elyse rated it it was amazing
4.5 Rating!

I just finished reading this story--(didn't want to stop) ---so I kept on reading 'before' my normal early morning exercise (walk,yoga, spin, or 'something').

Then...I also just noticed there are 'many' already High rating reviews --(a few low ones)...
A few readers thought this book might be better as a Young Adult read.

I WAS fully engaged with this story --(yet its not without flaws)...

My reason for the high rating was 'pure-involvement' ---I was invested --and I was thinking --I was
Dec 26, 2015 Burcu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maalesef herkesin aksine ben bir türlü sevemedim. Ne hikayenin içine girebildim ne de hikayenin amacını anlayabildim. Kitap boyunca gördüğüm tek şey dayısına saplantılı küçük bir kız oldu. O nedenle okumayı tercih etmedim ve 300 sayfadan sonra yarım bırakmaya karar verdim.

Not: 100 sayfa daha tekrar okudum ama sonuç yine aynı ve maalesef ki kitap okuyamama durumuna kapılarımı sonuna kadar açtım :(

Ve 3. Okumada sonu görebildim. Şükür. Herkesin sevdiği beğendiği kadar sevmedim. Okuduğum en iyi kita
Jun 09, 2012 Mitch rated it liked it
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
Mar 04, 2016 Kelly rated it it was amazing
This is me after finishing read this book:
 photo crying gifs_zpspwmhysw3.gif

I can imagine in my head Carol Rifka Brunt deciding to write a book. I can see her thinking what can I say and write that will leave an impact on my readers. What will make them remember this book straight until they take their last breath. *Scratches Head* that's it's, I'll write about an issue that are real and true to everyone....AIDS and To top it all off I'm going to tell this story in the POV of a fourteen year old girl call June.

Be prepared to
Jul 26, 2015 Bilhan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
''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
Jun 09, 2016 Maddie rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, na, made-me-cry


Tell the Wolves I'm Home ~..... Meaning ~: → critics and fans alike in order to do battle with AIDS

NO NOT Real wolves like below → more like next picture :D
More like this family fighting *wink*
Herewith my review!
Prologue OR Chapter 1
It dance around the themes and relationship between siblings and adults. The author portrayed feelings, events, and discriminating stigmas as they were during the 80’s!

The 80’s: → was THE era of Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Culture Club t
B the BookAddict
Jan 14, 2014 B the BookAddict rated it it was amazing
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Angela
Shelves: young-adult

It is 1986, when June is 14 years old, 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 to leave them something because he's dying: dying of Aids; that mysterious illness which has just begun it's deadly rampage. Finn's 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 f
Brendon Schrodinger
Jul 04, 2014 Brendon Schrodinger rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, retro
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
Hulya Kara Yuksel
Jul 03, 2016 Hulya Kara Yuksel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hulya by: Zeynep Dilara
I just wanna thank my sweet friend *Zeynep Dilara* who given me copy of this book as a gift. :) Thank you very, very much darling. <3

It was amazing. I loved it so much. I'll never ever forget this unique and heart breaking story... :)

A heartbreaking, but compassionately told coming of age story that kept me glued to my seat. Wonderful debut novel!
Nov 20, 2012 Diane rated it it was amazing
There were so many things I loved about this book. I loved how June, the 14-year-old narrator, felt like she belonged in an earlier time and pretended she lived in the Middle Ages. I loved the friendship she had with her Uncle Finn, and how he was the one who really understood her. I loved how June's relationship with her big sister, Greta, was as complicated as her mother's relationship was with her brother, Finn. I loved how June slowly built up a friendship with Toby, who was a special person ...more
May 26, 2012 Britany rated it liked it
Two words immediately come to mind as I attempt to digest this book- slow and weird. June Elbus falls in love(?) lust (?) or just a crazy crush (?) on her Uncle Finn. She visits his apartment every week with her older and extremely dislikable sister- Greta, and her mother. June and Finn are close and have a lot in common. I should mention that the book is set in the 80's and sets the tone for the reaction to what causes Finn's untimely sickness and eventual death (this isn't a spoiler- it's on t ...more
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
Jeannette Nikolova
Jul 17, 2015 Jeannette Nikolova rated it it was amazing
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

"I know all about tiny things. Proportion. I know all about love that's too big to stay in a tiny bucket."

*** 4.5 stars ***
(but since I haven't stumbled upon a good novel in a while - 5 stars it is)

I had mixed feelings before picking up Tell the Wolves I'm Home. Last year I read an entire bunch of books with similar summaries, which were very highly rated and turned out to be disappointments. (For example I'll Give You the Sun) Ultimately this book wa
Ivonne Rovira
Feb 02, 2015 Ivonne Rovira rated it really liked it  ·  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).
Gary  the Bookworm
Jan 07, 2014 Gary the Bookworm rated it really liked it
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

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is an odd book. I went into it blindly led by a group of lovely women that I am lucky to be a part of. I am thankful mostly because they choose books I never would have looked at, let alone picked up. This being one of them.

This book centers on the death of one man, Finn Weiss. Finn is an artist, a brother, an uncle and a gay man with AIDS. This book is set in 1987 in NYC and its surrounding areas. We meet the remaining family: June Elbus(narrator), 14, her sister, Gr
Eren Nadir Akşamoğlu
Sep 23, 2014 Eren Nadir Akşamoğlu rated it it was amazing
Al bütün yıldızlarım senin olsun kadın. Her birini hakettin. Öldüm lan ağlamaktan T_T Videosu en kısa zamanda gelecek. Ama önce toparlanmalıyım
Lisa Vegan
This is a tough book for me to rate. At a time when I’m finding it difficult to get through most books, it completely held my attention and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. If it weren’t for a couple issues I might have given it 5 stars, but because of those issues I almost downgraded it to 3 stars.

It’s a beautifully written book. There are many memorable and lovely lines, so much insight in just a few words. I love the voice of the main character narrator, June. She is so engaging and interesti
Nov 08, 2014 BrokenTune rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"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
Tell the Wolves I'm Home is Carol Rifka Brunt's debut novel, and was a huge publishing hit last year - being named as one of the best book of the year in 2012 by The Wall Street Journal, Kirkus Reviews and The Oprah Magazine, along with becoming one of ten Amazon's Best Books of the Month for June.

The story is narrated in the first person by a 14 year old June Elbus, an awkward and antisocial teenager whose only close friend and confidant is her beloved uncle Finn, a talented and celebrated pai
Mar 12, 2013 K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This book had a lot of strong points but sadly, some notable flaws detracted from my reading experience and kept my rating in the lukewarm range.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home is the readable and interesting story of fourteen-year-old June Elbas, who has just lost her beloved uncle to AIDS. The year is 1987, and AIDS is a new phenomenon. With that said, the attitudes toward homosexuality and AIDS felt more 2000s than 1980s to me at times. I also felt that some of the author's efforts to evoke the 80s
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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.” 939 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 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.” 501 likes
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