Although the publisher’s note and jacket cover make this book’s set-up and catalytic events seem utterly urgent and plausible, the truth is that the author is really asking the reader to check their skepticism at the door. If the reader can buy into a group of individuals setting out in a blizzard with a character who is supposedly so injured she can’t wait for medical help (but can walk miles in a snowstorm?), then the reader will be totally fine. Even if the reader can’t accept the irrationality and implausibility of the set-up and some events, just go with it because there are still plenty to love in Hear the Wolves.
The overall writing style and the voicing of Sloan, the protagonist, is magnetic. Sloan is equal parts strong and vulnerable, which is part of what makes her captivating. The other two teenagers, Pilot and Elton, are also more fleshed out, and likewise simultaneously courageous and exposed, but the adult characters a only vaguely outlined. Add these characters to a break-neck plot pacing, and this is a rapid and riveting read. Ms. Scott doesn’t get bogged down in descriptions, but still manages to paint a feeling of panic and confusion. This would be a great read for both guys and gals and is ultimately a survival story–on not only the physical, but also the emotional level. (And Sloan–you rock!)
Review of an Advance Reading Copy
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic Press (A Scholastic Imprint)
Profanity/Language: 1 religious exclamation.
Violence/Gore: Character hunts, skins, eats animals and birds upon separate occasions; talk/reference to hunting game; character watches a wolf hunt and kill prey; character is injured in a fall, resulting in injury and bleeding; characters are chased by animals; verbal threats; threat with an ax; threats at gunpoint (several occasions); vague implications about parents being abusive/mean/neglectful; father “jokingly” attempts to throw his son into a ravine (but it is a tense situation); character falls from a height and is injured; character bit by an animal; animals fight; 2 page animal attack on a human with biting, some description of wounds–resulting death; animal killed by gunshot; animals seen digging up a grave to get to a body; brief, but somewhat intense/disturbing scene of an animal caught in a trap and a human beating it to death with a rock; report of a child in India being dragged away by wolves and only the head being found (no details); characters punched in the nose (separate occasions); multi-page/chapter scene of peril, pursuit by animals with the death of people, understood implication that a person shot another to put them out of their misery–injuries, biting, hitting, mention of blood.
Sex/Nudity: Characters kiss; male removes a shirt to use in starting a fire (non-sexual), but female notices/quite aware of shirtless status; 13-year-old wishes she had curves; character notices how attractive another one is; characters hold hands (but primarily for comfort).
Mature Subject Matter:
Survival, death, parental abandonment of family/child, life-threatening situations, alcoholism, abuse (implications of).
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adult character is a known alcoholic.