“I am screaming, but not out loud. I am screaming inside, quietly, and I am thinking that I will never stop screaming. I will scream inside like this for the rest of my life.”
Maggie Elizabeth grew up without a mother, only her grandmother and a cold, hard father that worked in the mines all day and drowned her kittens every summer so he wouldn’t have to feed them. Maggie Elizabeth understood why he killed the chicken every Sunday for their dinner. It served a purpose. But she can’t understand what purpose her father has for killing her kittens, or why Bernard Lemieux kills wolves. When Tommie Stetter, the older boy Maggie Elizabeth proclaims she’s going to marry one day, comes back from hunting a she-wolf and states it probably had pups somewhere near, Maggie Elizabeth decided she had seen enough death and recruited Tommie and his sister Annie to care for the wolf pups.
The story is narrated by Maggie Elizabeth, so we see everything from the point-of-view of a 13 year old girl from the 1890s, which Swykert did a surprising good job. She seems to have a timid personality, but latter on in the book you find that her true personality is only muted because of her family life. As she spends more time with the wolves and Tommie, Maggie Elizabeth’s character starts to shine through and you really seen a significant growth.
Tommie Stetter is two years older than Maggie Elizabeth and the son of the mine’s rich manager. We don’t actually see Tommie’s true character, only what Maggie Elizabeth thinks of him, until the last half of the book. I was really unsure if Tommie actually had feelings for her or if it was all just wishful thinking floating around in the mind of a thirteen year old girl’s head.
Annie Stetter is Tommie’s younger sister and Maggie Elizabeth’s best friend. Maggie Elizabeth constantly describes Annie as being practical. Annie agrees to help with Maggie Elizabeth’s and Tommie’s plans, not seeing the purpose, but does so anyway to be a good friend.
The romance was tender and touching, mostly using words and expressions instead of getting physical (although kissing is involved). Though out the story Maggie Elizabeth becomes determined to save the wolf pups, to make a difference even though she couldn’t even save her kittens from her father. It’s a good lesson about standing up for your morals and chose to listen or lead.
I do have to complain about how often things are repeated. It can be argued that the narrator is a thirteen year old girl, and they do tend to go over things until it’s completely annoying, but I think here it could have been left out of the narration.
Overall, I really loved this book. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys coming-of-age stories and to middle school/ young adults (Just be cautious about letting a rebellious 13-year-old read it).