cover image Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me

Kristen Chandler, Viking, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-670-01142-1

Sixteen-year-old KJ is a spitfire who is outgrowing life with her father (her mother died when KJ was three) in a small Montana town just outside Yellowstone National Park. "All I know is that if he says I've 'bloomed' one more time I'm going to run away from home and become a shrub," she says of her emotionally remote father. Together they run a fishing supply store and work as guides in the park, but when dashing Virgil moves to town with his progressive mother on a wolf research trip, KJ becomes determined to live down her reputation as a "free-floating oddball." She works on the school newspaper as part of her journalism class and teams up with Virgil, a photographer, to launch a "Wolf Notes" column, which ignites outrage among those who view wolves as menaces (wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in a controversial 1995 program). Chandler's debut is a lively drama, saturated with multifaceted characters and an environmental undercurrent. She writes persuasively about the great outdoors, smalltown dynamics and politics, and young love. Ages 12–up. (May)