The first time I heard about this book and saw that stunning cover, I fell in love. It seemed like such a great story, full of adventure, friendship, and, of course, wolves. A survival story for middle grade readers? Yes! When a beautiful finished copy of this book (and it’s simply stunning) found its way into my mailbox, I was overly excited to read it, so here’s a big thank you to Scholastic!
The first thought that I had after I finished Hear the Wolves was “Wow!” Not only was this an amazing read, but, having never read anything from Victoria Scott before, I found myself incredibly impressed with her amazing and captivating writing style.
The story is told from the main character – Sloan’s – point of view, starting from the beginning where we are introduced to her enjoyment of hunting with her father. She has her own rifle for taking down small game, such as rabbits, while her father has a shotgun for hunting bigger animals and keeping them safe from the wolves that roam the woods by their home.
“The circle of life isn’t a circle at all. It’s a straight line, with hunters on one end, and prey on the other.”
The family hunts a lot of rabbit, which provides a decent amount of income for them, as well as food. Since there are so many rabbits living in the woods, the large amounts of wolves that live there too don’t really bother the people in the town, because they essentially have all the rabbits they can eat. However, when a fence goes up, it disrupts the rabbits’ habitats – and of course, the more that are hunted, the less there are for the wolves to eat – making them hungrier and willing to do whatever it takes to get food.
So when the entire small town heads into a larger town for a special voting session that involved keeping their township separate, Sloan’s father and sister head out as well, leaving Sloan at home for the short time that they are scheduled to be gone. Because of Sloan’s problems with being alone since an incident involving her mother as a child, she is terrified at first, but then realizes that she might just be fine.
And then the snow starts falling.
When the harsh realization that the roads are completely becoming covered in snow and leaving it impossible for her father and sister, or any others in town, to return, Sloan begins to panic, and heads to the church in town. Once there, she meets up with a few other townspeople – including a boy that she hates because he was the one to find her during that incident all those years ago, a schoolteacher, a little boy, and an older woman who has fallen on a pitchfork and desperately needs medical attention.
As a group, they set out to try and get to a doctor or hospital the only way they can think of aside from the roads – the river. However, in order to get to the river, they must first go through the woods.
And the wolves are hungry.
Desperately trying their hardest to get through the woods alive, with only a few shells for her father’s shotgun and several bullets for her rifle, Sloan and the others try to team up to get help – even though the wolves are willing to eat anything they can – even the people in the town.
Evading the wolves is an exhausting task as the group wades through the heavy snowfall and the bitter cold temperatures, trying to survive.
This book is seriously amazing. I love thrillers, so I knew this was going to be something I fell in love with from the first page, and I was right. I thought it was amazing. It’s such an interesting survival story, and it isn’t one that is sugarcoated or that is watered down, as some middle grade books are. No, this one is actually even more honest that some adult thrillers I’ve read, making it such a real (and downright terrifying) novel.
While this is listed as a middle grade book, I think that some of the content in the book is better suited for older middle graders – maybe twelve and thirteen year old readers, as some of it is kind of violent and a tad bit on the gory side.
The characters in this book all have their own personalities, and the first thing you’re going to notice about Sloan is that she is no-nonsense and isn’t afraid to do what needs to be done in order to survive. The ordeal with her mother from when she was a small child definitely shaped her into who she is today, but she also has the courage to take charge of a bad situation. She’s such an inspiring heroine for the novel, and adds a lot of personality to it.
Hear the Wolves is incredibly fast paced, nail-biting action from the first page until the last. It will leave you at the edge of your seat and wanting more, until you find yourself finishing the novel in one sitting.
If you like survival stories, this isn’t one you want to miss.