Reviewer: Josh Mosey Source:
Zondervan Publishing House
Lisa Williams Kline
Pages: 238 Industry
Stephanie and Diana are having a hard time adjusting to life as new stepsisters. The girls “pretend” to like each other, but it’s pretty hard considering they are complete opposites. When their new family takes their first-ever vacation to a horse ranch in North Carolina, not even long horse-back rides in the forest can tame their tempers. Diana’s anger issues and Stephanie’s fear of everything prove disastrous, until Diana discovers the caged wolves in the deep woods. She vows to free them, and surprisingly, Stephanie agrees to help. But their actions have unforeseen consequences, and if there’s any chance to make things right, Stephanie and Diana must put their differences aside.
Cleverly crafted and close to home for many modern families, "Summer of the Wolves" is a great read! Lisa Williams Kline is a gifted storyteller, weaving themes of loyalty, popularity, and hierarchy into this tale for animal lovers.
Kline provides a glimpse into the life of a blended family. The characters are beautifully flawed and feel real-to-life and instantly relatable. Whether you identify with Diana, the standoffish loner who sees a therapist for mood issues, or Stephanie, the easygoing but prim girl afraid of the world, you’ll find a character to root for. Chapters alternate perspectives between Diana and Stephanie, allowing the reader to get behind the eyes of each.
The target audience is definitely tween girls, especially those with soft spots for horses. The animal scenes are well detailed, showing that the author has done her research, which probably wasn’t too hard since her husband is a veterinarian. I ended up learning a fair amount about the animals without feeling like I was getting a biology lesson.
Parents can use Summer of the Wolves as a teaching tool on how to relate to kids who are dealing with divorce and blended families. At times the kids are jealous, feeling like their place in their parent’s life has been superseded by each other. The story shows a strong husband-and-wife team still figuring out what it means to be a family. They make mistakes, but they learn from them.
The parents aren’t the only ones who make mistakes. When the kids make bad decisions, their shared acts bring them together but they still have to answer for their actions. Kids will see how their decisions can have unforeseen consequences regardless of the best intentions. Frankly, that’s a lesson I am still learning too. The important thing, and Kline does a great job of showing this, is being mature enough to take responsibility for our mistakes.
Summer of the Wolves is the first book in the Sisters in All Seasons series.
Content Description: Sex: Parents hug and kiss; boy and girl flirt; boy and girl hug Language: Mild language, childish name calling (moronic, dumb, stupid, idiot), H-1, OMG-2 Violence: Parent yells at child; child injured by running through woods (little blood); tranquilizer gun is used; child bites nails until they bleed (little blood); girl injured by animal trap (no blood); animal gets shot (moderate blood); animal is operated on by veterinarian (moderate to much blood as an organ is removed, vein spurts and characters get blood on their clothes). Drugs: :Girl takes prescription drugs (as prescribed); girl takes over-the-counter medications; bottle of wine is seen on a table; man is drunk Nudity: Woman glimpsed in underwear Other: Divorce and remarriage are major themes; Native American mythology told as interesting stories; character’s parent dies in a car wreck; children are disrespectful to parents; children disobey parents; children lie to parents; parent lies to protect child; character has a tattoo; Greek goddess mentioned; character threatens “I’ll never forgive you.”