By Author / Illustrator
Friends and family
Andersen Press Ltd
Boy lives in a caravan on his own in the woods. His dad, John, is in prison and promises to get out soon. All the boy needs to do is survive alone for a little while longer. But dark forces are circling - like the dangerous man in the Range Rover, who is looking for his stolen money. And then there are the ancient forces that have lain asleep in the woods for an age...
A boy lives in a caravan on his own waiting for his father to return from a short stay in prison. The beasts and wild animals of the past keep him company while he forages and learns the ways of nature. Lying to his mother in the home of his old life and finding love for a dog that adopts him, he meets the shady characters that are haunting his father. Blindly trusting life will return to normal when his father reappears, he ignores the gun hidden in the caravan and meets a girl, Sophie, in the woods, who brings some hope into his life.
We Were Wolves begins a mystery but soon sweeps you into a life within nature, spoiled by the shadows of the underworld and the greed and horror that accompany deceit. From the beginning, the book evokes a true sense of what living within nature encompasses whilst describing the traumas of PTSD and the impact it has on families.
Told through the boy's memories, the story takes us from an ordinary life in a home to a freezing caravan in the woods and eventually to a windswept beach in the darkest of night. The writing is descriptive and entrancing whilst the underlying plot is slowly revealed. There are undercurrents of politics throughout which I felt suited the story, along with the descriptions and activities of the gangsters.
The book questions what we are taught by those we love, and society, and is captivating with the accompanying illustrations which beautifully portray the wild elements of the story. Overall, I couldn't put it down. The only part I found hard to believe (spoiler alert) was the actions of the Sophie's mother; I'm not sure many parents would welcome a dirty boy and dog so easily into their home!
I loved the inclusion of the wild animals and creatures from the past and almost wished they had a story of their own. This will appeal to readers 12 and above, recommended.
206 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Lorraine Ansell, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+
In We Were Wolves, Boy lives in a caravan on his own in the woods. His dad, John, is in prison and promises to get out soon. All the boy needs to do is survive alone for a little while longer.
But dark forces are circling ... like the dangerous man in the Range Rover, who is looking for his stolen money. And then there are the ancient forces that have lain asleep in the woods for an age...
Every single one of my senses was instantly drawn in to this powerful and unsettling novel. The nature, the damp and claustrophobic caravan, the dark woods ... each was described lyrically without a word out of place. The description of the boy and his dad watching two hares in the half light of early morning was truly magical. There is a purity to this novel despite the dark and menacing life that troubles John. The boy is intensely loyal but still finds himself alone, he battles between his loyalty to John and ultimately wanting to be at home with his Mam and all the home comforts.
The exquisite black and white illustrations, also by Jason Cockcroft add to this unsettling, unsentimental but tender multi-layered story.
This beautifully written novel definitely has the makings of a future classic.
216 pages / Reviewed by Lucy Georgeson, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 14+