Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk begins with the words:
"The year I turned twelve, I learned how to lie"
setting us up for the recounting of the story from the point of view of young Annabelle, who lives in a small rural town in post WW1 and WW2 America. A new girl called Betty comes to town, who turns out to be quite the bully, disrupting Annabelle's simple, peaceful life, and drawing into question the intentions and trustworthiness of the reclusive, wandering war veteran Toby.
Annabelle's quest for justice and for the truth to prevail in the face of a town-wide manhunt has brought many comparisons to To Kill A Mockingbird. This novel definitely has the feel of an American classic, with various characters representing the good and just, right and wrong, and the evil and hysterical. Annabelle's Aunt Lily is a particularly good antagonist, representing the often misplaced intentions of the morally righteous. Annabelle herself is a convincingly thoughtful and moral character, whilst also encapsulating the naivety and certainty of youth.
I also found moments of comparison to the Little House on the Prairie books, especially the scenes detailing the chores of farm life, and Annabelle's interactions with her parents. There was a similar timeless warmth to their familial love, and an attention to detail of the everyday tending to the animals and land, which enriched the world of the story to no end.
Wolf Hollow is an accomplished piece of children's literature, and I can see it being read and analysed in classrooms in the future, just as To Kill A Mockingbird is across the world today.
I received a review copy of Wolf Hollow from Penguin Random House in exchange for a fair review. This has in no way affected my opinions. Promise!