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Tell the Wolves I'm Home
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Previous BRs - Authors; Q - T > Rifka Brunt, Carol - Tell the Wolves I'm Home - "Relaxed Buddy Read" - Start Date April 27, 2014

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message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 31346 comments Mod
This topic is open for discussion of Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.


What is a buddy read?

About this Buddy Read
A “Relaxed Buddy Read” is similar to our usual “buddy reads” except there are less questions and break points. For example, a book may be split into three sections and those reading the book should pause at the end of the section to answer some discussion questions, make comments, or ask their own questions to other readers


1987. There’s 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 about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.

At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt Tell the Wolves I'm Home  by Carol Rifka Brunt

message 2: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Apr 20, 2014 12:28AM) (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 31346 comments Mod

Recommended reading schedule:

April 27 - start!

April 28 - Pause to discuss the beginning (Chapters 1-12 ; pages 1-50)

May 1 - Pause to discuss the middle (Chapters 13-48 ; pages 51-252)

May 3 - Discuss the end (Chapters 49-end ; pages 253-end)

Feel free to start earlier/later, and read at your own pace. But please don't post about sections prior to the above dates without using spoiler tags. Thanks!

message 3: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14696 comments Mod
I've wanted to read this for a while :)

message 4: by Kristie (last edited Feb 08, 2014 09:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 3310 comments I'm planning to join too. It's been on my bookshelf forever.

Sheila (sheilalynn) | 206 comments So excited!

Esther (nyctale) I read it last year and it was a good read. It went to place I was not anticipating. There is a lot to discuss in this one

message 7: by CiCi (last edited Mar 27, 2014 05:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

CiCi (cici_miller) | 340 comments This is going to be my first Buddy Read and I'm super excited!

message 8: by B (new) - rated it 4 stars

B (bookswithb) | 24 comments I want to join as I've been wanted to read this for a while now!

Zita I'll be joining too! It's amazons deal of the day in the U.K. and is 99p :)

message 10: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 31346 comments Mod
Loose schedule posted into message 2

Feel free to start earlier/later, and read at your own pace. But please don't post about sections prior to the above dates without using spoiler tags. Thanks!

message 11: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14696 comments Mod
I'm going to make the most of the long weekend and start this a little early. I tried the audio book, but I seriously had to go and check if it was a robot audio because it is just so bad. So I have stopped the audio and I'm going back to the hardcover as I think the audio would ruin it for me otherwise!

message 12: by Kristie (last edited Apr 20, 2014 05:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 3310 comments Still hoping to read this one, but might be a bit late. I have too many books that I'm reading right now. Glad you posted here though, I had lost the thread!

message 13: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14696 comments Mod
:) it happens! I won't get a lot of reading done before the 27th anyway as we are out all day today and then back to work tomorrow! :(

Kristie | 3310 comments I know. I have less than 3 weeks left to grad school, so I'm swamped with research papers and final exams right now. Not much time to catch up. I can't wait for a break from studies!

Skyler | 1 comments Just started reading this today, it will be my first Buddy Read :) Looking forward to future discussions.

message 16: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (last edited May 01, 2014 01:31AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14696 comments Mod
I have since finished the book, but I kept a few notes for the sections.

The beginning (Chapters 1-12 ; pages 1-50)

I tried the audio and I wondered if it was just a robot recording of the book it was so bad. It seems not... just a really ordinary narrator. So I began again with the hardcover edition.
The start of this book took me a bit by surprise. I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but it just felt like there was this blanket of unhappiness. I guess it is clever of the writer that we feel like June does.
The feelings June has for her uncle seem a little... unhealthy... did anyone else get that vibe?

Funny how far we have come in understanding AIDS. I had forgotten all the fear that was out there in the 80s, it just seems so ludicrous now. It must've been so hard to be a teenager with an uncle with AIDS in this time where it just wasn't understood and many people blamed the person's lifestyle for contracting the disease.

Has anyone else started yet? Your thoughts?

Shaun  (Lost in Books, Film, and Floss) I just finished the first 50 pages today. So far it is interesting and has me wanting to see where it goes. I also got the vibe that Junes feelings for her uncle were....unhealthy... but she also address that she knows that, so I believe that to be intentional and effective.

I too kind of forgot the stigma attached to people with HIV/AIDS 30 years ago. The attitude that Junes parents and sister have, that Toby murdered Finn, was very much how people viewed those that the virus was contracted from. Some of the attitudes do still carry over though. My best friend from childhood is HIV+ and when he told me he told me he would understand if I no longer wanted him to the best man in my wedding, which was ridiculous but that is how he thought even I was going to react to him 10 years ago.

I hope the next segment doesn't take me too long to finish, I would like to stay current with the discussion. This is my first buddy read and so far so good. The short chapter lengths help speed reading along and the writing style is smooth and enjoyable to read.

Looking forward to hearing what others thought.

Susan Elizabeth (susan_e_lizabeth) Hi readers! Jumping in a few days late.

Because of June's feelings for her uncle and her make-believe time in the woods, I keep thinking she's younger than she actually is. That's why I like the presence of her sister Pam - she keeps us in touch with what kids their age are really up to. I also think June as narrator shows us she's not quite at naive as she puts on, but rather has the "if you can't see me, I can't see you" mantra. For instance, in Chapter 6 she tells us, "I don't like to overhear things, because, in my experience, things your parents are keeping quiet about are things you don't want to know."

This book reads so easily and I'm feeling the can't-put-it-down addiction.

Also, love when June picks Ghostbusters on the jukebox. There's a soft spot in my heart for those movies and the Ray Parker Jr. song.

message 19: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (last edited May 01, 2014 01:42AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14696 comments Mod

Well that is interesting (and so sad) about your friend seeing that it was only 10 years ago. It must be so hard to live with such an insidious and still misunderstood disease.

I'm glad you're enjoying the book so far and that I'm not alone with wondering about June's feeling for her uncle!



You can never be late to a good discussion ;)

Good point about June and her sister. I keep forgetting how young Pam is because she is at a grade or two above at school (and therefore her activities and friends are older). I liked that line by June too. And ghostbusters (oh the memories!!)

message 20: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14696 comments Mod
Middle (Chapters 13-48 ; pages 51-252)

I have to say at this stage I wasn't quite sure where the book was going and found it awfully depressing! well written, but not exactly uplifting.

Some questions for you to ponder and respond if you'd like to (adapted from litlovers):

1. Toby initiates a relationship with June that necessarily involves secrets kept from her parents. Can this ever be right? Is it ever okay for an adult to have a secret relationship with a child? Even if it's formed out of the best of intentions?

2. Readers have said that they feel very negatively towards June's mother, Danni. How do you feel about her? How much is she to blame for the events in the book?

3. Thoughts on the painting in the vault and how it has been altered?

message 21: by Susan (last edited May 01, 2014 05:03PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Susan Elizabeth (susan_e_lizabeth) (1) I understand that Toby is a misunderstood person. I don't oppose to June being friends with him. BUT I think he should know better than to have a secret relationship with a young girl. Especially since he takes her on road trips and invites her into his apartment. I like when June brings the corkscrew in her pocket just in case.

(2) I remember being a kid and thinking that my parents were these invincible, perfect, omniscient people. Then, as I grew up I realized that were human, just like me, and didn't always have the answers, just like me. This story illustrates that wonderfully when June has the conversation with her mom about Finn (then followed by her dad's explanation of the situation). I don't blame Danni, but at the same time I hope she learns and grows by the end of the story.

I loved the part when the mom told her that she was the one that should be the most upset over Finn, not June. It's such a hard concept to grasp and a terribly sad idea. Interesting the June isn't able to accept this, but the next chapter she can realize that Toby loved Finn more than she did.

(3) I want to know who painted the skull! Was it Greta? (I don't know why I called her Pam above, ha) The thought of everyone adding onto the painting is interested, but I worry they're going to realize that they can't take back the changes the made - just like life!

In Ch. 26, June says, "A portrait is a picture where somebody gets to choose what you look like. How they want to see you." Finn chose how we wanted to see her and now she's changing it. Is she adapting it for the changes, the growing up, that he won't be there to see?

Does anyone else think that Toby maybe have gotten a similar note from Finn - one asking him to look out for June because she needed someone? Also, it's not very fair that Toby is the catalyst causing June to get past Finn's death, when he himself is going to die, too. Poor kid...

message 22: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14696 comments Mod

1. I totally agree, but I am trying to remember the time period. In the 80s we used to walk almost an hour to school everyday on our own which you'd be unlikely to let your kids do in most cities nowadays! I do remember a "stranger danger" campaign so I think it was the start of understanding that not all adults are safe with kids. Having said all of that, I do think he did the wrong thing and shouldn't have picked her up from school and that kind of thing. I'd understand her mum calling the cops if she found out!!

2. Good point. And I actually think Finn needs to take some blame for the situation too. He shouldn't have blamed his illness on Toby and he should've been stronger with her about explaining the situation.
It was really unfair on Toby and everyone to keep that part of his life hidden

3. Oh Nice thinking that the painting will change as they do!

I like your idea about Toby getting a note too. That is a lot for June to handle.!

I had wondered if your version had changed the name of Greta ;) I've seen some crazy changes by publishers since reading books on here with users in other countries

Susan Elizabeth (susan_e_lizabeth) I didn't think about the fact that it was in the 80s, when things were "safer" (or we didn't have social media to tell us about all of the unsafe things). I was so astonished that this girl was in the city all day and her parents didn't even know she was missing.

And yes - Finn seemed to be a little bit more responsible than Toby, so I'd think we would have considered the consequences of having Toby form a relationship with June. Couldn't he have left a note for Danni, explaining things to her? Who knows, maybe he did and she trashed it.

Speaking of Danni, I finished the book last night and there's a later scene which makes me furious with her.

message 24: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14696 comments Mod
I don't know that he left anything for Danni as he just seemed to have a bond with June. But of course, we are seeing things from June's POV so that could be a wrong assumption!

I've finished the book too and now we are past May 3, feel free to discuss the end without spoiler tags required :)

message 25: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14696 comments Mod
Re: the ending

I gave this book 3 stars. I'd wanted to read this book for quite a while and I must say, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. It was well written with good characters, but it was just sooooo depressing. I found it uncomfortable reading and was happy to get to the end, which was also not exactly uplifting.....

Susan Elizabeth (susan_e_lizabeth) The part I was most upset with Danni about was when she found out of the painting and she used that as an opportunity to yell at June about not participating in enough activities. I felt as if she was basically calling her daughter a loser.

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