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Tell the Wolves I'm Home

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  130,485 ratings  ·  14,472 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 F
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)

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Average rating 4.02  · 
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Cross-posted at Shelf Inflicted and at Outlaw Reviews

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 d
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
i can probably count on two hands the number of books that have made me cry - it doesnt happen often. so when a story causes me to tear up, i know its immediately going to go on my favourites list.

this is such a bittersweet story. its a tenderly told coming-of-age tale about a girl who finds herself after losing someone very important to her. its a story of first loves, sisterly bonds, hard truths, and developing acceptance.

i honestly cant express the extent of my love for finn, june, and toby
Nov 02, 2012 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 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2014, lgbtq
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
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
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 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.
Justin Tate
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Despite the buzz, I wasn't expecting much. The plot description--a cool uncle with AIDS inspires his niece to discover herself--sounded like a total bore. It sounded like something I'd have to pry my eyes open to finish. Glad I went against my gut, because it turned out to be just the opposite. I couldn't put it down!

Though this is her first novel, Brunt writes like a career veteran. Her prose is both simple and beautiful. It never gets in the way of the story and is only flowery when it counts.
Aug 11, 2012 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
Nov 17, 2016 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, b
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Oct 14, 2012 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 them back
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
Jan 09, 2013 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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell The Wolves I'm Home is the debut novel of American writer Carol Rifka Brunt, published by Random House in 2012.

June Elbus is a 14-year-old girl living in Westchester in 1986. She is in love with her gay uncle, Finn Weiss, a fact she is scared to admit even to herself. Finn is dying of AIDS. Being a professional painter, he asks June and her elder sister Greta to sit for a portrait, which he completes a few days before his death.

At his funeral, Ju
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
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-said, top
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
Nov 16, 2016 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
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
Em Lost In Books
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Em Lost In Books by: Srividya
this book deals with the sensitive subject of AIDS and that too in 1980s. what makes in charming and heartbreaking is that it is told from the PoV of a 12 year old. A crucial point in a kid's life. it is at this time that anything can go wrong, or somethings can happen that the kid learns how hard life is, and how one should face the hard times and bitter truths, and stay calm. Or be a rebellion, and let the darkness take over you.

Junes Elbus is struggling with the death of her uncle Finn. He di
Stephanie *Eff your feelings*
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
Helene Jeppesen
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard Derus
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud. ...more
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever met someone you connect with on such a deep level that you feel as if that person knows exactly who you really are and can somehow see straight into your heart to your innermost thoughts and feelings? If so, then you will understand how 14 year old June Elbus feels about her Uncle Finn, in this wonderful and charming book by Carol Rifka Brunt.

There are so many layers to this story and each layer contains within it some very important lessons and truths about life. At its most basic
Elyse  Walters
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
B the BookAddict
Jan 14, 2014 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 ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, fiction, 2018
I’ve been cleaning up my word docs and I found a few reviews that I never posted on GR. I read this book 2 years ago but better late than never... Also, I still remember my disappointment...

Before you read this review, I should warn you. It might look spoilery but it actually isn’t. You see the whole book was “stagnant”, except for the end.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is the most disappointing book I’ve read this year so far. I was honestly expecting a paranormal story first because of the title,
A heartbreaking, but compassionately told coming of age story that kept me glued to my seat. Wonderful debut novel!
Parents of teenage daughters might not approve of this one. It’s about a 14-year-old, June, who is overly attached to her gay uncle who dies of AIDS. Then she hangs out with his AIDS-riddled lover. This is set in the late 1980s, when little was known about AIDS other than it was scary and awful. And back then, because AIDS hit the gay community the hardest, there was tons of prejudice against gays and plenty of fear that AIDS might be as contagious as a cold.

Let me count the ways this book might
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