Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Meet Bryn. Just your normal, run-of-the-mill 15 year old girl. A girl who is trying to pass algebra, hang with her best friend Devon and dodge authority. Normal except for one thing–Bryn’s parents died when she was four years old, and now she is being raised by a pack of wolves headed by the Alpha, Callum. One day, everything that Bryn knows is put into question by the discovery of a new wolf, Chase. Chase is wild, unpredictable, dangerous…and Bryn feels oddly connected to him. It is as if she has known him her whole life. The pack has a secret, though, and will do anything to keep Chase and Bryn apart. Chase and Bryn find that they must work together to uncover the secret of the Rabid – the wolf who killed Bryn’s parents and changed Chase into the wolf he is today.
Review: It seems like the YA literary market has been flooded by novels about the supernatural post Twilight- vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. Some of these books are good, and some, not so much. What I really see as a common thread throughout a majority of these novels, though, is a change in the female protagonist once this character finds love. The character who may have been strong, sassy and independent before, morphs into someone entirely different-someone dependent on a male for happiness and strength. (I am speaking to you, Bella Swan, though you didn’t even start out sassy)
I was so relieved to find that Bryn was different! In the beginning of the novel, Bryn was spunky, independent, head-strong and opinionated. And at the end of the novel… Bryn was spunky, independent, head-strong and opinionated! I loved that throughout the book, Bryn continued to grow stronger so that she was finally able to break the bonds that restrained her and held her back: to Callum, to the patriarchal pack and to the Rabid. Along the way, she was able to strengthen her relationships to those she truly cared about. Her best friend Devon, her sassy pal Lake, her adopted mom Ali and Chase, the wolf she feels inexplicably drawn to.
I loved this book for three reasons. 1. Bryn was a relate-able heroine. Her dialogue was witty and quick, and she was fiercely protective of those she cared about. 2. The supporting characters came alive with rich detail. Dev sang show tunes. Lake had a gun named Matilda. These kinds of details made these characters sparkle. 3. The love between Bryn and Chase built slowly to a magical crescendo at the end. Though the characters mainly interacted in their minds for much of the book, their chemistry sparked off the page. By the end you were waiting, in anxious anticipation, for them to finally be together and realize their connection, face-to-face.
This book would make for awesome discussions about familial bonds and gender issues. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys strong protagonists, snappy dialogue and a well-constructed plot!
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 13 and older