Aaron's Reviews > Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me

Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler
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Feb 14, 2011

really liked it

There is no question that environmentalism is one of the "in" things for today's teens. This novel takes a look at one teen eco-warrior who is hoping to make a difference in her hometown. KJ Carson lives in a small town in Montana that borders on Yellowstone National Park. She lives with her dad, who is a local nature guide and a fishing store owner. KJ's mom died when she was just a little girl.

The whole town (as well as nearby communities) are thrown into an uproar over a 1995 federal program to reintroe endangered wolves back into Yellowstone. Since so many residents are cattle ranchers, there is a great amount of fear for what damage the new arrivals will do.

The wolves are not the only arrival. There is also a new student in school named Virgil, and it seems like he has ended up in all of her classes, including journalism. It is through that class that the two really get to know each other when they are assigned to work as a team on a column called "Wolf Notes," which will focus on the newly arrived wolves in Yellowstone. KJ, who is the editor of the school paper and a great work, finds a natural fit with Virgil, who is a master photographer and the son of one of the scientists that are studying the wolves.

As you can imagine, the newspaper column is not exactly well-received by members of the community. Virgil and KJ quickly become the target of animosity from fellow students and other folks in the community. Before long, there is a shooting at a town parade, a fire at the Carsons' fishing store, and the town seems to be about to tear itself apart as the two sides come to blows. KJ and Virgil and their friends try to come up with a plan to smooth the ruffled feathers by helping to protect local cattle, but nature and the instability of one local young man is going to make that difficult.

Chandler has done a very nice of capturing realistic voices in her characters, whether they be teens or adults. She also nicely captures the difficulties of the situation as both sides are presented with respect. It also highlights how easily things can get out of hands when people passionately care about an issue.

With all of this going for it, it was really surprising to me at how much the book seems to drag. The story is interesting, and I definitely wanted to finish the book to see what happened. The pacing just seemed to be off a bit. I am not sure that everyone would be willing to stick with it.
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