The Compulsive Reader: Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

KJ lives in a small, small town near Yellowstone Park where ranching, hunting, and fishing are the town's livelihoods. But when the re-introduction of wolves into the park and surrounding areas threaten those practices, her life is surprisingly turned upside down, especially so when Virgil and his mother, a scientist who has run many studies on wolves, move into town. Rather unexpectedly, KJ finds herself becoming friends with Virgil and becoming an advocate for the wolves through her column in the school newspaper, Wolf Notes. But soon the heat and frustration of the townspeople finds her and KJ learns that there is always another side to anything, and that some things are worth fighting for, despite what anyone else may think.

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me is not, as some have speculated, another werewolf book. What it is, however, is a fascinating and unique take on small town life with all of its loyalties and quirks, and how this community in particular reacts and divides when faced with the re-introduction of wolves in Yellowstone Park. KJ is a laid-back and sarcastic narrator, and her humor keeps the book entertaining even while the book drags slightly, and in darker situations as KJ is faced with malice from upset and belligerent citizens and must decide whether to stand up for what she believes in or back down as many would like her to.

KJ’s mother died when she was a toddler, and she lives with her father, who is straightforward and bit gruff at times, and their relationship is something interesting to observe. There is a lot of tension between them as KJ chafes against his tight hold, and her father bounces back and forth between being overprotective and letting KJ flounder to find her own way. KJ is also grappling with her feelings for Virgil: both are attracted to each other, but it hard for them to truly connect due to of all the animosity they face from the town, their parents' dislike for each other, and their own misunderstandings.

KJ's attempts at dealing with both her father and Virgil definitely stirs up drama, but each relationship is portrayed pretty realistically, and readers will be just as eager to see how Chandler leaves KJ and her father and KJ and Virgil as they will be to discover how the book is resolved and the fate of the wolves. Chandler doesn't delude readers with any perfect, magical solutions, but shows that through hard work and passion, amazing things can be accomplished. Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me is a humorous, well-researched, and thoughtful debut that even manages to be quite suspenseful and thrilling.

Cover Comments: I think this is a pretty cool cover--I love how abstract it is, with the font of the title and the image cut outs appearing at odd angles. It's a really neat effect. I am also liking the cool blue color of the background, and the way the girl's hair is blowing. It's very fun!

This book is available now!

ARC received from publisher.


Anonymous said...

Oooh, interesting story premise~ LOL, I thought it was a werewolf book. :P It sounds like a charming story, I love how realistic and down-to-earth the book sounds. Wonderful review!

Liviania said...

That is a cool cover.

I hadn't heard of this one, but it sounds similar to FAITHFUL, except set in modern times.

Anonymous said...

I love the cover too. Sounds like a good read. :)

Mollie said...

I really liked this one too!