Tell the Wolves I’m Home
Carol Rifka Brunt
This will go down as one of my favorites for the year. Seriously. Even if it did make me cry.
June Elbus adores her Uncle Finn. They share a special relationship…a love for art, and music. No one quite gets the awkward 14 year old who would rather spend her time in the forest dreaming of being a falconer. Except for Finn. He is her refuge from an increasingly distant and difficult older sister, and her only friend.
So when Finn dies of an illness people would rather not talk about (this is the 1980s, and Finn had AIDS), June is devastated. But then she learns that Finn had another special friend, and now he’d like to be her friend, too (this is not as creepy as it sounds). Except to the rest of the family, Toby is Finn’s killer…the man who gave him AIDS, the guy they’d rather pretend never existed. June can’t quite decide whether to hate Toby (because Finn loved him, too), or to love him (because Finn loved him, too).
Rifka Brunt explores the prejudices that were so prevalent in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, as well as family dynamics, sibling rivalry, jealousy, teenage awkwardness and drama, and a whole lotta other stuff. This is a beautifully told story that made me cheer for June and Toby.
Just keep a tissue handy if you read it.