'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 20 January 2020

Review: Wolf Girl 1: Into the Wild; Wolf Girl 2: The Great Escape

An attack on Gwen’s town forces the family to pack what they can and set out in their car to escape the disaster. All the people of her town find themselves in the same situation. When a bomb falls, every one runs. Gwen finds herself separated from her family and alone in the forest of an unknown area. She is saved from drowning in a raging river by four dogs, who also are alone and homeless now. One of them is a wolf pup.

Although she finds her way back to the town, no one is there. Initially, whatever food she finds in the abandoned cars lined up on the main road, is used to keep herself and the dogs from starving. The family car becomes their shelter until she realises she must begin her search if she is to find her family.

She begins the greatest adventure of her life.

Knowing nothing about self- preservation, Gwen must draw on all her resources to stay alive. And there are the dogs that saved her. They depend on her for their survival.

Their food supply doesn’t last long. She is forced to hunt for food. She learns how to use the sling she found in their car as a tool and a weapon. They eat lizards and snakes that the dogs catch and which soon become their staple diet.

Gwen is now the pack leader. When she saves an eaglet abandoned in an eyrie. It too, becomes part of the gang and an additional protector.

In Wolf Girl 2 - The Great Escape, Gwen, her pack and Eagle, have grown and changed. It has been four years since the disaster. Gwen is strong, courageous and resourceful; having survived every challenge and obstacle that life has put in her path. Together with the dogs, they are a powerful force.

The first human they see after all this time, is not the help Gwen believes him to be. She is kidnapped and driven to a hidden place. Her thoughts all the way, are with the dogs and Eagle. How will they find her? They can’t outrun the truck travelling at high speed. She tears out strands of her hair for the dogs to trace her scent. Eagle follows up high. The dogs are determined to find their leader. 

At this stage in the story, we see what the dogs are thinking. Their thoughts are presented in bold text.

Reaching their destination, Gwen sees countless children labouring at breaking stones. Refusing to tell her captors anything, and after trying to escape, she is imprisoned and deprived of food. At this point, the story takes on a specific shape and meaning. Its direction becomes clearer, where till now, it was a series of events leading up to something shadowy.

The dogs by now have picked up her scent. The strangest and most thrilling events take place. With the help of Tiny, the smallest dog, Gwen manages to escape, taking with her the boy Rupert, put in an adjoining cell for giving her bread.

The guards, although on full alert, are no match for the dogs and Eagle.

Gwen discovers that adults are being held in another compound. To return and free the other children is her main priority as she flees. Also, she must track down the whereabouts of the adults that have been driven away in trucks.

Title: Wolf Girl: Book 1- Into the Wild, Wolf Girl: Book 2 - The Great Escape
Author: Anh Do
Illustrator: Jeremy Ley
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $ 14.99
Publication Date: July & December 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760525095, 9781760876357
For ages: 8 - 14
Type: Middle Grade Fiction