Today's Book Recommendation is Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.
It's 1987 and there is only one person in the whole world that has ever understood fourteen year old June Elbus. Her uncle Finn, a famous painter who lives in New York city. June visits her god father on a regular basis and he takes her to museums, out for food, and to their favorite places. She is distanced from her sister and feels that she can't be herself with anyone but Finn. He is her best friend and her confidant. Until he dies of a mysterious illness that her mother, Finn's sister, won't even talk to June or her sister about. June feels as though her world has come crashing down around her.
Then at Finn's funeral she spies a strange man lingering just on the edge of the crowd. She is struck by his appearance but doesn't know who he might be. Then a mysterious package arrives at the house addressed to her. Inside is teapot from her Uncle's apartment and a note from the mysterious man, Toby, asking her to meet him. As she tries to decide whether or not to trust this unexpected friend she finds that she is not the only one that misses Finn.
This novel is definitely a coming of age novel. It tells of love lost and then found again. Between the relationship between June and her sister, the flashbacks of the relationship between June and her Uncle, and even the developing relationship between June and Finn we are given several different types of relationships. Each of this relationships faces different trials and morphs with the outcome of the trials. Its a story of grief but it is also a story of healing.
It is also 1987 and its the beginning of AIDS pandemic. Brunt doesn't ignore this fact in her writing and she writes of the perspectives that the world had on the disease when it was something that had never been seen before. The fear and the misunderstanding that go alongside the revelation of the disease.
This was a wonderful and heartbreaking novel that will hit you, for lack of a better description, right in the feels. There are moments where the pacing is a tad slow but the prose is very well written. There are wonderful descriptions of paintings that Finn has done, several that June does, and the descriptions of June herself are wonderful. Sure to strike a chord with those of us who felt a little on the outside, like we were meant to live in another time period, or simply that we couldn't be ourselves around anyone else.