Bonds: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Let’s discuss the unusual relationships between a 14-year-old girl and two adult men in a novel set in the New York City area during the start of the AIDS epidemic.
In a 1980s suburb that’s a short train ride away from New York City, 14-year-old June Elbus asserts a distinctive identity by wearing unfashionably long skirts with boots that were bought at a Middle Ages festival. Her backpack holds a well-thumbed copy of The Portable Medieval Reader. She has a solid sense of self when she’s alone, but like many other introverts, she doesn’t cope well in crowds. “I’m okay with one or two other people, but more than that and I turn into a naked mole rat,” she comments early in Carol Rifka Brunt’s 2012 novel Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Though out of joint with her contemporaries, June did have someone in her life who appreciated and supported her on a deep level: her uncle Finn, a well-known painter.