Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Goodreads Summary: 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.
My Thoughts: As I was born in '87, I don't remember that time when AIDS was new and confusing. Maybe make that new and terrifying. By the time I was old enough to know what AIDS was, everyone knew that you couldn't get it by touching or coughing on someone the way you would get a cold. However, at the time this book is set, '87, there were so many unknowns about AIDS. As I read Tell the Wolves I'm Home, I found myself in a world where nothing was certain and where so many questions and fears were wrapped up in this "new" disease. That in itself was interesting, but more compelling were the characters and their complicated relationships. The narrator, June's, relationship with her uncle and with Toby, her Uncle Finn's long-time partner whom she never knew existed June's tortured relationship with her sister, who she finds herself growing further and further from every day. June's Mother's relationship with her brother, one that the narrator grows to understand throughout the book. And so on. My only complaint about the book was that it was a bit long--about 2/3s of the way through I was ready to give it 3 stars--but everything comes together so beautifully in the end that it earned that 4th star. I cried and cried near the end of this book, not just because it was sad, but because the characters learn so much about themselves and each other. Definitely recommend.
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