The Wolves Are Watching

Viking. Oct. 2022. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593351093.
Gr 8 Up–Living on the edge of the forest in tiny Picnic, IL, Luce once spent many an hour with her best friend Anders pretending that the woods housed talking foxes and other magical characters. But at 15, too old for such fantasy, Luce is surprised one day by the feeling that she is being observed—and that the pinpricks of golden lights she sees on the dark forest edge are the eyes of her observer. When her two-year-old cousin Madison is kidnapped from her crib, Luce wonders if there is a connection; when Madison is returned the next day everyone rejoices, but it quickly becomes apparent that things are not right, and that Madison is not Madison. Is someone—or something—truly watching Luce? If so, why? A class assignment on local history gives Luce the nudge she needs to dig into the town’s history where she discovers that secrets the community holds are deeply entrenched in the magical realm. Enlisting the aid of Anders and their friend Ashleigh, they discover doors to the past involving their teacher, Madison’s mother, and a host of magical women who have carved out their lives at the center of the forest at the expense of the town’s youngest daughters. Told in alternating perspectives, this gripping and suspenseful story will keep teens engaged and eager to keep on reading. While the narrative voices are uneven, with some need to suspend disbelief, readers will cheer Luce onward and empathize with Fanta, the shape-shifter who sets the whole story in motion. The race of the characters is not stated; Madison and her mother are described as having light red hair.
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