Tag Archives: Kristen Chandler

What We’re Reading: Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me

Where Nebraska Center for the Book board members share their thoughts about the books they are reading. This month’s review is by Laurie Yocom; Director, Wilson Public Library, Cozad.

Review of Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler.

I’m getting ready to plan a vacation to Yellowstone this fall, so I picked up a 2010 young adult novel, Wolves, Boys & Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler, to get me in the mood. It also happened to fill a niche in our library’s summer reading challenge as far as being set in a national park.

The main character is K.J., who at 16 has a few things on her plate. Her dad, a reformed lawyer, has been a hunting and fishing guide for as long as K.J. can remember, but doesn’t know how to relate to his daughter. What she can’t remember is her mother, who died in a car accident when she was a toddler. K.J. struggles with dyslexia and expectations about school from her father. The resident klutz of her class, She has “bloomed” over the summer, now getting notice from all the townspeople—and not necessarily about her new look.

Thanks to her journalism class, K.J.’s interest in wolves intensifies when she partners with the new boy in town, Virgil. His mother has come to Montana to study the wolves. With Virgil’s photographs and K.J.’s research, it is not long before things escalate between those who want the wolves in the park and those who want them dead. And maybe someone wants K.J. dead, too.

Chosen as her high school newspaper’s editor, K.J. comes of age, falls in love, and learns about standing up for yourself and your ideas. The themes of bravery and not backing down is told throughout the story in terms of the main character as well as the wolves. Jokes, articles, quotes, and poetry sprinkled between chapters keep the serious narrative somewhat light.

By reading this, I got a sense of the Montana wildlife I hope to encounter this fall, especially an appreciation for wolves that I may not have had before. If you’re looking for a nonfiction selection about wolves, check out The Wolf Almanac: A Celebration of Wolves and Their World by Robert H. Busch.

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