The Wolf

The Wolf

4.3 3
by Steven Herrick

Jake and Lucy hike to Sheldon Mountain: Jake to prove his dad right or wrong about the wolf he claims he saw; Lucy to escape her father's cruelty. Jake's dad saw the wolf before Jake was born. They say wolves don't live in this country, yet in the night Jake hears it howling, long and lonely. During the hike, both are tested—physically, emotionally,


Jake and Lucy hike to Sheldon Mountain: Jake to prove his dad right or wrong about the wolf he claims he saw; Lucy to escape her father's cruelty. Jake's dad saw the wolf before Jake was born. They say wolves don't live in this country, yet in the night Jake hears it howling, long and lonely. During the hike, both are tested—physically, emotionally, spiritually—but what they find on that dangerous, dark mountain surprises them both. A novel written in verse, this Voice of Youth Advocates Poetry Pick is taut and tender, a gripping blend of physical adventure, family drama, love story, and journey of self-discovery.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Australian author Herrick (By the River) takes readers to the present-day outback in this moving story told in verse, which unfolds through the first-person narratives of 16-year-old Lucy Harding and 15-year-old Jake Jackson. Though they are neighbors, their lives could not be more different. Jake has a happy and loving family; Lucy's home life is dismal. Her father drinks and blames Lucy for his unhappiness. "I was bad luck./ I was the cause of the drought,/ the bushfire,/ the floods./ He was stuck here because of me." Rather than stand up to him, Lucy spends her days trying to avoid him. Anything she cares about he destroys ("I was so happy watching the bird/ .../ I didn't see Dad raise the gun/ and fire"). When Jake's father finds another sheep ripped to bits, the man is convinced the culprit is a wolf, and Lucy tells Jake she knows where it lives. Herrick smoothly portrays how Lucy's thoughts about the wild creature allow her to work through her feelings about her father. While on their trek, Jake is injured, and the two spend the night in a cave where Lucy tells him about her unhappy home life. In Jake's friendship Lucy finds her inner strength ("What Jake and I got./ That can't be touched;/ it can't be broken./ My father can bash me/ all he likes,/ but I know now,/ he can't touch me"). Herrick's fully realized characters convey their hopes in this touching, well-written story. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

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VOYA - Megan Lynn Isaac
The isolated rural setting, the rugged Australian landscape, and the emotional barrenness of the central protagonist join elegantly the spare language of the free-verse poems in three voices that comprise this novel. Sixteen-year-old Lucy Harding simmers with repressed anger toward her abusive father, her compliant mother, and her naive younger brother. Unable to overtly rebel, she finds a symbol and an idol in a wild dog whose nighttime howls infuriate her father and whose wily command of the wilderness outwits the enraged man's attempts to hunt him down. The Hardings's only neighbors are the Jacksons. Fifteen-year-old Jake Jackson enjoys the company of his hardworking father, who teaches him to respect the land and shares with him an old story about a lone wolf who lives, despite all odds, in the wild country. The symbolic richness of the beast itself-part myth and part shadow, destroying and surviving, infuriating and inspiring-becomes a provocative lens for viewing both the men who struggle to find a livelihood and the children who inherit their successes and failures. Jake's quest to discover the truth about the creature that might truly be a wolf and Lucy's decision to find the creature she sees as the legendary wild dog bring the two together for an overnight adventure that spurs important changes in Lucy's family. As in his earlier verse novel, By the River (Front Street, 2006/VOYA August 2006), Herrick excels at deftly illustrating the small dramas that shape lives and the complicated emotional investments that underpin daily choices.
Kirkus Reviews
Lucy Harding lives on the appropriately named Battle Farm, located in an isolated and inhospitable area of Australia. That's an issue, but it's not the one that concerns Lucy most. The one that weighs most heavily in Lucy's heart is what to do about her abusive and alcoholic dad who keeps the women in the family in fear of violence. Her story alternates with that of her neighbor, 15-year-old Jake Jackson. Jake wonders about fate: Is he tied to the land as his parents are? And is his father always right? The two eventually decide to take a pilgrimage into the rocky forest in search of a wolf that they think they hear howling every night, even though wolves are not known to inhabit that terrain. Lucy thinks it's a feral dog that was once her pet, but escaped her father's wrath. Herrick is a skillful storyteller and a practiced hand at verse novels like this one. He skillfully intertwines the lives of the teenagers and resolves the story in a satisfying way. The exotic Australian countryside adds a layer of interest to a story that seems to be universal in the minds of young adults. (Fiction. 12-15)

Product Details

Highlights Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Steven Herrick is an award-winning poet who has performed his poems in schools, cafes, colleges, and festivals all over the world. He lives in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, near Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two sons.

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The Wolf 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Ignorance21 More than 1 year ago
When I got this from my library, I didn't think I'd like it. But I was so wrong! This is such a good book! It includes abuse, romance, and hope. I loved this book and recommend it :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Lucy is worn down by the physical and emotional abuse from her father. Nothing she ever does is right. Her mother provides zero support by allowing her father to continue the abuse. Lucy feels as though she is totally alone.

Jake has a wonderful life and family. They work together on their Australian farm and enjoy each other's company. A story his father always tells is about when he saw The Wolf. His father was twenty years old when he saw what looked like a wolf while he was fishing. The wolf came to the creek to get a drink of water. They made eye contact and then the wolf ran away. His father never saw the wolf again. People say he never saw one at all. Wolves don't live in Australia, people say.

Recently, howling has been heard every night. Of course, Jake is thinking of the wolf, desperately wanting to see him for himself. He wants to be able to share the experience with his father and prove to everyone who has ever doubted him that his father was right all along.

Living in the same community, Lucy and Jake know each other. They just don't know each other well. One day Jake and Lucy see each other at the creek between their houses. They begin to talk about the wolf and wanting to see it. Lucy sees this as a way to escape from her abusive father and tells Jake she know where it lives. They make plans to leave the next morning to find it. Along the way they experience tragedy and discovery. Lucy realizes the strength she has inside and is able to use it help Jake in more ways than one.

Steven Herrick has written an emotional survival story. The alternating points of view allow the reader insight into each character. THE WOLF is told in verse, which moves the story at a fast pace. If you like stories dealing with family struggles and first love, this would be a good choice for you.