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Review: Wolf Mark by Joseph Bruchac

Monday, December 19, 2011
2 Stars: An Okay Read
Hardback: 392 Pages
Publication: September 28, 2011 by Lee & Low Books, Inc.

Luke King knows a lot of things. Like four different ways to disarm an enemy before the attacker can take a breath. Like every detail of every book he’s ever read. And Luke knows enough—just enough—about what his father does as a black ops infiltrator to know which questions not to ask. Like why does his family move around so much?

Luke just hopes that this time his family is settled for a while. He’ll finally be able to have a normal life. He’ll be able to ask the girl he likes to take a ride with him on his motorcycle. He’ll hang out with his friends. He’ll be invisible—just as he wants.

But when his dad goes missing, Luke realizes that life will always be different for him. Suddenly he must avoid the kidnappers looking to use him as leverage against his father, while at the same time evading the attention of the school’s mysterious elite clique of Russian hipsters, who seem much too interested in Luke’s own personal secret. Faced with multiple challenges and his emerging paranormal identity, Luke must decide who to trust as he creates his own destiny.

What I liked about it: There aren't enough books that delve into the cultures of various ethnic groups. Wolf Mark's romantic interest is Muslim, and the main character both knows quite a bit about Russians and goes to school with a group of Russians. I appreciate Bruchac's inclusion of detail about these cultures. This was the main attraction of the novel for me--besides the new take on werewolves.

What I didn't like about it: The short, terse sentences made it hard for me to read, and there wasn't sufficient imagery/description to capture my interest. At the beginning, the plot lagged. We find out about Luke's life at home and how things are at school, but it takes a little to get into the meat of the plot. (At least, that's what it seemed like to me. I'm afraid that I had a hard time getting into this novel.)

Told from the perspective of a teenage boy, Wolf Mark is a book that will appeal to boys and girls alike. I would recommend this for middle-grade readers, not for older teens and above.

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A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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