Recommended by Jade Herridge (@fromlangtolit)
Form and genre: novel
Length: 291 pages in large type – easy to complete and enjoy for even reluctant readers
Summary: Small town in PA (USA) post-WWI. Young girl protagonist, Annabelle, thinks life is set in its ways. Then, new student Betty arrives from the city. Betty is cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks.
Age recommendation and challenging content: Would recommend for Y9. Guns, war, some injury detail (impalement, not gruesome, but still a shock).
Notable reasons for recommending this book: Really great text – thoroughly engaging, interesting villain in Betty, themes of the outsider, misunderstood soldiers (character Toby), Annabelle as a protagonist is struggling with adult decisions regarding justice and kindness.
Other useful information: Excellent use of motif in this: dogs/wolves especially. Plenty of extracts ripe for analysis: description of Betty, description/treatment of Toby.