IndyPL Kids Book Blog's Reviews > Wild Things

Wild Things by Clay Carmichael
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's review
Mar 06, 12

bookshelves: kid-life
Read in January, 2010

Zoe is eleven and she’s tough as nails. She’s taken care of herself for as long as she can remember because the grown-ups in her life have either been gone (her dad) or unreliable (her mom, and her mom’s string of boyfriends).

Zoe knows how to grocery shop, vacuum, scrub toilets, do laundry, drive a stickshift & place bets at the track. What she doesn’t know, is how to be a kid.

Now, Zoe’s Mom is dead and the next person in line to take care of her is an old Uncle she never even knew she had, Uncle Henry. Zoe isn’t expecting much. She figures this new grown-up will probably be just as useless as all the others before him. “What grown-ups said and what they actually did never matched or even came close.”

But this grown-up, this Uncle Henry, he’s different. He’s the first trustworthy adult Zoe has ever met. Sometimes he’s so competent and reliable he makes her really mad - like when he makes her go to school. Zoe’s been in charge of herself for so long it’s hard for her to let Uncle Henry be in charge. And Uncle Henry, he’s been alone for so long it’s hard for him to be in charge of somebody else.

The two of them are independent, moody, stubborn, smart…and they both need a family. So they make one: the street smart, sarcastic, wise-cracking Zoe and the reclusive, grizzly old doctor turned metal sculptor. With their good friends Fred & Bessie, Maud, Father Phillip and Zoe’s teacher Ms. Avery, a stray cat and a mysterious boy - Sugar Hill, North Carolina turns out to be a really fine place to grow up. Author: Clay Carmichael

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