Kurt Kemmerer, March 22, 2013 (view all comments by Kurt Kemmerer)
This one is an absolute treat. The teenage heroine comes alive, as do the settings and the rest of a typically tragic family whose foibles and love spill and speak for humanity, including those coming of age as the heroine and her sister, those struggling with mid-life and compromise, and those struggling with life's end via AIDS in the '80s. All in all, an incredible, worthy debut.
Krisket, March 2, 2013 (view all comments by Krisket)
I have to admit I wasn't sure I'd like this one when it was selected for my book club. The story sounded a little too emotional (a young girl trying to work through her grief after the death of her beloved uncle). But, the narrator, June, is compelling and very real. The characters are wonderfully developed. The setting (New York in the 80's) is so well crafted that it seems familiar. When you put it all together, you get a great read! I miss it now that I've finished it.
Andrea 511, January 4, 2013 (view all comments by Andrea 511)
A moving coming-of-age story set the early 80s, when having AIDS was a deep dark secret and a certain death sentence, this beautifully written debut novel explores the relationship of a 13 year-old girl to her beloved artist godfather, his partner, and her own immediate family. Sibling rivalry, complicated family relationships, lost opportunities for fulfilling creative promise, and the ultimate hope of deeper love all play a part. For me, a favorite book of any year!
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The Dial Press -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In Brunt's sentimental debut novel, 15-year-old June must come to terms with the death of her beloved uncle Finn, an artist, from AIDS in 1980s New York. As she struggles with his death and her own grief, June secretly befriends her uncle's mysterious lover, Toby, blamed by her parents for Finn's death. What begins as a wary relationship between former rivals for Finn's affection blossoms touchingly. Though June gradually uncovers the conflicts between her mother and uncle, she faces adolescent problems as well (sibling rivalry, boys, parties). A wrenching climax finds June's family threatening to uncover her secret relationship with the ailing Toby. Though Brunt's approach to AIDS and homosexuality is bold, her novel is mostly an extended meditation on 'all the meanness that could come out of loving someone too much.' The plot is never dull, and the convincing emotional climaxes, while overwrought, are appropriate for a narrator of June's age. Though the book has young adult-novel qualities, with moral conflicts that resolve themselves too easily and characters nursing hearts of gold, there's enough ambiguity and subtlety to interest a wider audience. Agent: Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary + Media. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by O Magazine,
“A dazzling debut novel.”
by The Wall Street Journal,
“Tremendously moving…Brunt strikes a difficult balance, imbuing June with the disarming candor of a child and the melancholy wisdom of a heart-scarred adult."
“In this lovely debut novel set in the 1980s, Carol Rifka Brunt takes us under the skin and inside the tumultuous heart of June Elbus....Distracted parents, tussling adolescents, the awful ghost-world of the AIDS-afflicted before AZT — all of it springs to life in Brunt’s touching and ultimately hopeful book.”
by Booklist (starred review),
“[A] transcendent debut....Peopled by characters who will live in readers’ imaginations long after the final page is turned, Brunt’s novel is a beautifully bittersweet mix of heartbreak and hope.”
“A poignant debut…Brunt's first novel elegantly pictures the New York art world of the 1980s, suburban Westchester and the isolation of AIDS.”
by Daily Candy,
“[This] gut-wrenching portrayal of a 13-year-old coping with her beloved Uncle Finn’s death from AIDS more than delivers.”
“An uplifting debut novel about loss, love, and unlikely friendships in the midst of the 1980s AIDS epidemic …a literary pleasure read.”
by School Library Journal Blogs (Starred Review),
“[A] beautiful novel of love and loss… accessible, sensitively told, and heartbreaking.”
by Library Journal,
“Brunt's debut novel is both a painful reminder of the ill-informed responses to a once little-known disease and a delightful romp through an earlier decade. The relationship issues with parents and siblings should appeal to YA audiences, but adult readers will enjoy the suspenseful plot and quirky characters.”
by Shelf Awareness,
“A fresh yet nostalgic debut novel about a 1980s teen who loses a beloved uncle to AIDS but finds herself by befriending his grieving boyfriend. Filled with lost opportunities and second chances, Tell the Wolves I'm Home delivers wisdom, innocence and originality with surprising sweetness. Its cast of waifs and strays will steal your heart as they show each other the way to redemption.”
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