Official Book Summary:
Davey has never felt so alone in her life. Her father is dead—shot in a holdup—and now her mother is moving the family to New Mexico to try to recover.
Climbing in the Los Alamos canyon, Davey meets the mysterious Wolf, who can read Davey’s “sad eyes.”
Wolf is the only person who seems to understand the rage and fear Davey feels.
Slowly, with Wolf’s help, Davey realizes that she must get on with her life. But when will she be ready to leave the past behind and move toward the future? Will she ever stop hurting?
Davey is fifteen, an Atlantic City native and in most ways is a typical teenaged girl. Until the night that her father is fatally shot at his 7-11 by burglars.
Suddenly, she’s fatherless and living in great distress by the sudden and violent oriented loss of her father.
Davey, her mother and her younger brother and leave to take a ‘vacation’ to her aunt and uncle’s home in New Mexico.
However as Davey’s mother’s depression worsens, it becomes decided that the family will be staying for the school-year.
She’s no longer surrounded by the beach, her best friend or her boyfriend Hugh. Davey also actively misses her father.
This book weaves loss with expert precision. It shows how loss, especially sudden grief, is not easy. It explores what it looks like to have a mother experience intensive and acute depression, to fight through haunting memories, to helping your friend’s alcohol issues or what it looks to overcome fears.
Davey meets ‘Wolf’ (as he calls himself) during hiking. Her aunt and uncle who are afraid of everything are not knowledgeable of Davey’s hiking adventures. Davey and Wolf have an interesting connection. I would’ve love for the book to delve more into Wolf; not events a romantic sense. It just felt that there was so much more there; not just in Wolf, but also Davey herself. I think that’s what made me only rate this book a three. It felt that there was so much more of a story to tell.
While her interactions with Wolf are on the minimal side, Davey finds peace again. With not only herself, but with her family — especially with the loss of her father. I think what I found most poignant was when Davey finally confronts her worst fear: the night that her father was shot. When she buried the clothing that she was wearing that night which were covered in her father’s blood, I found it really profound.
While I didn’t think the ending was the best, I did enjoy that the family is shown to prosper, despite the loss.
I think this is definitely one of the much better books that I’ve read in the YA genre on death. It’s raw, realistic and doesn’t promote the idea that ‘true love’ will heal loss. The latter happens to be a very common YA trope that I find so irritable to read.
I wish, however, that Blume had given a follow-up to this novel. Not for an ending for Wolf and Davey, but just to explore how much felt missing throughout the novel to me.
Overall, I did enjoy it! Granted, I do find faults in the seemingly blankness that seems to exist in the book. However, I did find it really enjoyable and enjoy the writing style. If you’re in the mood for a YA novel that deals with deeper issues — such as loss, depression, teenaged alcoholism, et.c — than I would definitely recommend it.