Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk is set in western Pennsylvania in the fall of 1943. It is the story of twelve-year-old Annabelle, whose peaceful world is upended when a cruel girl joins her school.
This new girl, Betty, first threatens Annabelle, then her younger brothers. When Toby, an outsider and World War I veteran, tries to protect them, he becomes Betty’s new target. Many in the community are inclined to believe Betty’s lies. Annabelle, though, is determined to prove Toby’s innocence.
The very first sentence sets the tone for this novel that is both beautifully written and disturbing: “The year I turned twelve, I learned how to lie.”
It’s not an easy read–either in a reading level sense or in an emotional sense. I wouldn’t recommend it for every middle grade reader, but for the right reader, it offers a brave and relatable heroine, a tense story, and plenty of food for thought.