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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Sometimes heroes can be found in the most unlikely places.
Fourteen-year-old Clarence Feather knows no world beyond desolate Mayfair Heights. Three years ago, his mother was killed before his eyes by a stray bullet. When his father becomes unable to keep the family afloat, Clarence is manipulated into running drugs. But he longs to be a good person, in spite of the seemin
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  81 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fourteen year old Claraence is surrounded by family and friends that are leading him down the path of drug dealing, dog fights and other illegal activity. His mother died in from of him in his home in a drive-by shooting and he is trying to do right by her memory while trying to survive in his neighborhood, a wirewalk. He loves school and gets good grades and lives in his fanasty world where he is a wirewalker or a superhero, to give him courage to do what he needs to do. A teacher at his school ...more
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow... This book was truly incredible. It was a serious perspective-changer for me. Clarence is such a good kid. A kind-hearted, animal-loving, straight A student who is set up by his circumstances for complete failure. But he uses his instincts to survive. He knows who is angels are in the community, and he uses them to balance himself as he finds himself in a life he cannot stomach.

It's hard to read at times, because it feels so real. So heartbreaking. So many times, as the reader, I found my
Sissy Lu {Book Savvy Reviews}
Clarence Feather is a fourteen-year-old from a rough neighborhood, his mother died in a drive-by shooting and was struck by a stray bullet. He was left in the care of his father and since his father was unable to provide for the family Clarence begins running drugs to bring money home.

While he's walking one day he sees a white Great Dane named Mona and they seem to form a bond right away. Mona is able to see Clarence for who he is and seems to be able to read his thoughts but when he's dragged
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
First off, I got this book as an ARC from Penguin. It was also a very fast read. The story is about a young man who is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The story has a positive message and might help youngsters who are going through hard things in their lives.
Ms. Yingling
Jun 30, 2016 rated it liked it
E ARC available from Edelweiss Above the Treeline. (June 2016)
Personal copy (June 2018)

Personal Copy

Clarence has a difficult life. His mother was killed in a drive by shooting, and his father has fallen apart since then. While he used to have a job to go to, he now just hangs out with Johnnyprice, who is a small time drug dealer who uses Clarence as a courier for "medicine". Clarence is glad of a little money, but increasingly uncomfortable with his work, especially after much more prosperous de
Anne V.
Aug 25, 2016 rated it liked it
From the publisher:
“Fourteen-year-old Clarence Feather knows no world beyond desolate Mayfair Heights. Three years ago, his mother was killed before his eyes by a stray bullet. When his father becomes unable to keep the family afloat, Clarence is manipulated into running drugs. But he longs to be a good person, in spite of the seemingly impossible odds.”

This is, indeed, what the book is about. Clarence is fighting to balance the dark reality of his life with the lightness of hope for a different
Sara Codair
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I got this book through the First to Read program, but almost put this book down for good after the first scene where Clarence and Mona met. Their bond was so deep and intense that I was terrified of how it might end. I couldn’t bring myself to read a book in which a sweet Great Dane like Mona would end up dead. Eventually, I kept reading, and I’m glad I did.

The book is well written, fast paced and emotional. It provides deep insight into how circumstances can make good people do bad things. I
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
May 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-recommended
Hall, Mary Lou Wirewalker, 290 pages. Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016. $17.99. Language: R (107 swears 15 “F’s”); Mature Content: R (teen drinking and smoking, also child abuse); Violence: R (“on page” dogfight and violent descriptions)

Clarence Feather, a 14 year old boy is a crack runner and has been ever since his mom was shot. He and his dad have had trouble since that night. He ends up getting abused constantly, and is sick of living with his dad, so he runs away. He wants to be a good
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic; I would recommend it for readers who enjoy gorgeous, lyrical prose, compelling characters, and a serious, thought-provoking storyline. The central character, Clarence Feather, is complex and overwhelmed, but he will completely steal your heart. His dilemma: how do you manage to be "good" in a world full of bad options and bad role models.

It'll be several years before my young adult readers (5 and 8) are ready to handle these themes, but I can't wait for them to read it.
Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This was quite good. Clarence is a teen living in poverty with a father that doesn't seem to be able to take care of himself, let alone a child. Clarence meets many people in this coming of age story. He meets people that inspire him to be better with their support and others who inspire him to try to be better through their bad examples. It is a great, inspiring story and I definitely recommend it. ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written story of a young man in difficult circumstances who has a rich inner life, astonishing courage, and amazing resiliency. Clarence Feather, the main character, is lovingly and sympathetically drawn by Hall. I would highly recommend this book to parents of boys and boys because it does such an excellent job in portraying the emotional life of a young man and the pressure he experiences through gender and race stereotypes to hide and/or deny that emotional life.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m going to have to go completely against the grain with some of the reviewers of this book. I found this at a local thrift store and honestly have zero clue why I was led to read the synopsis. The cover nor the title did anything for me. The synopsis sealed it though.

I was so moved by the inner turmoil of the main character. The horrible things that he has seen and gone through broke my heart. I’m so grateful that there were some balancing characters who gave him, and me, hope along the way.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I thought it excellent. Don’t have time to write review but I would recommend the book. I loved listening to it.
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Everyone in the world needs to read this book. Yes, that is a large statement, but there are so many positive things and inspiring messages that it’s hard to believe that the world wouldn’t benefit from reading Wirewalker. I have never read anything so raw and realistic.


•THE MESSAGES: There are so many important things to take away from this book it’s hard to know where to start.
1) Abuse is a thing that happens. There is a lot of emphasis on abuse in this novel, and in more than
Sara Breckman
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Quick, super engaging read. Hard to handle sometimes, which I guess is the the point. The main character goes through a lot of pain and hardship to find his way as a young teen but he does, and he is better for it. The book seems to be about finding light where there doesn't seem to be any and making connections in a world full of isolation. No neat tidy ending here but again, seemed to be the point. In this story small changes and pieces of hope are what is offered, and for me that was enough. ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it liked it
In adolescence we all walk a line between who we are and who we want to become. It can be a delicate line to tread so as to not go overboard and balance is essential. Wirewalker by Mary Lou Hall follows 14 year old Clarence's journey of navigating who he wants to be.

To read this, and other book reviews, visit my website:

Clarence Feather has known the same few variables in his life for the past three years since his mother was murdered: sharing a home with
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Please read review in its entirety at

Teenage Clarence Feather is walking the line, a fine line that leaves him teetering, Mary Lou Hall's debut YA novel Wirewalker.

In Clarence's neighborhood surviving is hard, but Clarence wants to do more than just survive, he wants to be a good person. But, after witnessing the murder of his mother, he is finding it more complicated than ever.

Third person narrative reveals a complex, judicious protagonist in Clarence Fe
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016, firsttoread-com
Disclaimer: I received this book as a giveaway on

Wirewalker held my interest and I was able to get through it rather quickly. The main character Clarence (Itty) Feather is a 14-year old, smart but troubled kid living with his absent dad and a drug dealer after his mom was murdered. The story is set in Mayfair Heights - which I assume to be a fictional place, though I didn't look it up; a downtrodden, drug-riddled ghetto by all accounts. This is a place ruled by drug dealers a
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-to-read
Wirewalker is the kind of book that's a winner because it gives you a protagonist in an awful situation trying to survive and not lose their humanity. Clarence is a boy who is trying not to lose the boy he once was when his mother was alive while maintaining the airs he needs to survive in his neighborhood. Therefore, he is the wire walker. Balancing the tough hoodlum he needs to be with the smart and hardworking boy he wants to be.

The dogs actually don't have a tremendously large role to play.
Jordan Moore
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
I received an ARC of this book through Penguin's First to Read program.
*actual rating 2.5 stars*
It took me a while to finish this book. I felt like this book just fell flat for me. It is about a young boy trying to survive in a tough world full of drugs and bad people doing bad things. His life hasn't been the same since his Mama died, and he is trying to find himself and stay true to himself and his Mama. I like how the title fits into the story. The main character is a "wire walker" trying t
Jul 20, 2016 rated it liked it
A quick read about a teenage boy in a very difficult struggle to stay good despite being surrounded by many bad influences. Main character Clarence is well drawn and I was rooting for him to succeed and overcome the odds. The metaphor of a wire walker is a perfect one to describe his tough situation, but it was mentioned far too often and ended up feeling heavy handed after a while. I also thought that the way that everything wrapped up forced most of the big actions on other characters so that ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received this book as an ARC from First Reads in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, it took me a while to get into this book. However, once I did, I couldn't stop thinking of Clarence and what he was going through and how he compared his life as a 14 year old to that of a wire walker in a circus who is.trying to maintain balance between the good and bad influences in his life. In the end, I really enjoyed this story. I really felt for the characters and the tragic circumstances that surr ...more
Aug 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was really good....considering the subject matter.... the writing was so effective as to make this reader almost afraid to read on....I'd say that's pretty good writing! The descriptions, the atmosphere, memorable characters...all felt/read as gritty/real. The book might've been a quick read, but the subject matter made it not such an 'easy' read. My only criticism might be that I thought it wrapped up pretty quickly, altho I was kind of glad that I didn't have to actually see that wha ...more
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
There were parts of this book I loved. It was poetic. I remember thinking that some parts would have been a good novel in verse. I could see it as a hybrid book....part prose, part verse. The pieces that were Clarence in his introspective mode could have been in verse. I'm frustrated for this book in that it has so much unrecognized potential. Does the unfinished ending harken a sequel? Ugh...I'm not sure what else to say. I can't believe that I'm this upset. It could have been so good. Editor, ...more
Jerricka Habib
Aug 22, 2016 rated it liked it
I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

The question the story seemed to be circling is if anyone can be truly good in this world. Everyone has flaws but it's a matter of survival for most of them. Felt bad for almost every character in this book.
Penguin First-to-Read ARC.

This book wasn't for me. It was difficult to read. The pacing was extremely slow for such a short book. I struggled through it and skimmed the last few pages. I couldn't connect with it and there was nothing to like except Clarence and Mona's relationship.
Pam Brix
Jul 06, 2016 marked it as to-read
This was a very interesting book that I couldn't put down. It kept my interest and was very relevant to life today. Fantastic, but a little too real in some ways. A wonderful read ...more
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, arc
DNF at 174 pages.
I tried to finish this one, I really did, guys. I just couldn't. This was an ARC from First to Read, but the book was just slow and didn't do anything for me.
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really well done novel but not for those with a weak stomach
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