Tell The Wolves I'm Home
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Tell The Wolves I'm Home

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  52,405 ratings  ·  7,162 reviews
1987. There is 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 ab...more
ebook, 360 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by The Dial Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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2014: What the Over 35's Are Reading
26th out of 1,425 books — 259 voters
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Community Reviews

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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...more

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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Apr 12, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
Stacia (out of inspiration)
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 ev...more
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...more
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
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...more
Wendy Darling
My heart is shattered.

Review to come.

** Reread August 2013
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...more
Jan 30, 2013 Ben rated it 2 of 5 stars
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...more
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...more
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...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
This review has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.
Jun 18, 2012 Mitch rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...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...more
Gary the SophistiCat
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
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...more
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...more
I received this book free from Goodreads First Reads.

I love a book that makes me cry, and I'll admit I'm a sucker for blatant tearjerker moments. (I will always cry when Charlotte dies, and again when the babies emerge. It's just a given.) But I cannot immediately recollect a book that has made me cry this long, this hard, and this consistently. Rather than a single emotional chapter, try every other chapter. And not just the quiet, streaming kind--frequently the loud, sobbing kind. So, obviousl...more
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...more
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...more
I can't really put into words how I feel about this book, except to say it's the best thing I've read in a long time.

Set in the 1980s, it’s about 14-year-old June, whose beloved uncle Finn has just died from AIDS. After his death she learns he had a partner, Toby, for over 10 years who she wasn’t allowed to know about. At first she’s angry, feeling like everything she knew about Finn was false, and resentful that maybe she wasn’t the most important person in Finn’s life after all. But June star...more
Airiz C
When cupids of literature decide to shoot, there are moments when they don’t stop at the ‘piercing’ stage. Sometimes they linger inside us and use their love arrows to carve a shelf-space in our hearts, whereafter they will gently lodge a special book. They synchronize our heartbeats with the flutters of that novel’s pages. And then they will tether it to all our memory muscles until we realize we will never forget its story no matter how hard we try.

My heart already contains a sizable literary...more
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
OCTOBER 23rd, 2:30pm
I am utterly spent. I will return to review "Tell the Wolves I'm Home", but I don't know how I'll ever be able to do it, and Carol Rifka Brunt justice. I'm sharing some of the thoughts I had and feelings I experienced that are still very palpable inside me below. Those comments are not meant to be my review. I feel so strongly about this book that I don't want t leave this page naked until I can come up with anything even close to how I feel about "Wolves." There aren't enou...more
June Elbus is one of the strongest most endearing protagonists I’ve come across in a long, long while. I got a kick out of her matter-of-fact oddness with her medieval obsession, falconer aims and boots when they likely weren’t cool. More, I liked that her where and when were things she didn’t want; and better, that she didn’t pretend to want them either! She’s her own person, so different from the rest. Perhaps, it’s her ability to stand on her own that impressed me; but more it’s her acknowled...more
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June attachment to Finn 15 244 Jul 25, 2014 04:11AM  
Book freaks: Tell The Wolves I'm Home 14 74 Jul 22, 2014 08:56AM  
College Station B...: June Discussion - Tell the Wolves I'm Home 3 10 Jul 03, 2014 01:56PM  
Ladies & Lite...: * Official November 2013 Book Discussion:Tell The Wolves I'm Home 102 69 Jun 12, 2014 12:56PM  
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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.” 354 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.” 302 likes
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