REVIEW by @BunnyBethA: Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult – Release Date 2/28/12 (@JodiPicoult)

A life hanging in the balance . . . a family torn apart. The #1 internationally bestselling author Jodi Picoult tells an unforgettable story about family secrets, love, and letting go.
In the wild, when a wolf knows its time is over, when it knows it is of no more use to its pack, it may sometimes choose to slip away. Dying apart from its family, it stays proud and true to its nature. Humans aren’t so lucky.
Luke Warren has spent his life researching wolves. He has written about them, studied their habits intensively, and even lived with them for extended periods of time. In many ways, Luke understands wolf dynamics better than those of his own family. His wife, Georgie, has left him, finally giving up on their lonely marriage. His son, Edward, twenty-four, fled six years ago, leaving behind a shattered relationship with his father. Edward understands that some things cannot be fixed, though memories of his domineering father still inflict pain. Then comes a frantic phone call: Luke has been gravely injured in a car accident with Edward’s younger sister, Cara.
Suddenly everything changes: Edward must return home to face the father he walked out on at age eighteen. He and Cara have to decide their father’s fate together. Though there’s no easy answer, questions abound: What secrets have Edward and his sister kept from each other? What hidden motives inform their need to let their father die . . . or to try to keep him alive? What would Luke himself want? How can any family member make such a decision in the face of guilt, pain, or both? And most importantly, to what extent have they all forgotten what a wolf never forgets: that each member of a pack needs the others, and that sometimes survival means sacrifice?
What happens when the hope that should sustain a family is the very thing tearing it apart?

Thanks to Jena, I was able to get an advanced reader copy of Lone Wolf. The book came yesterday morning, and I read the entire book in one day. It was a personal challenge, to get this book finished and my review done before its release date. But once I started reading Lone Wolf, I could not put it down.
Lone Wolf is an amazingly beautiful story about families, love, loss, and the secrets we keep from the people we love. Picoult is at her best when she’s writing about family relationships, and the tangled web of emotions that exist between people when they share their lives. 
Luke and Georgie Warren’s son Edward left home at age eighteen, leaving his mother a short note. Edward’s younger sister Cara was left behind, feeling lost as her family was torn apart. When Edward comes home six years later to help decide what kind of care his father will receive, Edward’s mother has remarried, and has a new family. Cara has been living with their father, assuming many of the adult day-to-day tasks of running their household as Luke continues living with wolves. Just like Edward had done before he left home.
Over the years, Luke Warren became a celebrity, with a television show and an autobiography about his work with wolves. Luke lived with wolves, hunted with them, felt in many ways there were his family. Over the years, Luke had left his human family for months, sometimes years, at a time, to live with the wolves. And when he came back from the wild, Luke struggled to live in the human world again, with his human family.
The chapters of this book are from the point of view of the main characters; every other chapter is a short entry by Luke, from his autobiography Lone Wolf. As Luke struggles to be part of a wolf family, we see him become more emotionally and physically distant from his human family. The other chapters tell the story of Luke’s family as they must decide what to do about Luke’s care. As Cara recovers from her injuries, she and her brother Edward must decide what decisions to make about Luke’s care. Cara, not quite eighteen years old, must grow up quickly as she struggles with feelings of guilt, loss, and betrayal. Edward is suddenly thrust back into the family he walked away from, and he struggles with his own growth; he must finally face what he walked away from so long ago.
You would think that with so many points of view, Lone Wolf would be confusing and hard to follow. But this book flows beautifully, with Luke’s writings about wolves blending perfectly with the struggles that Edward, Cara, and Georgie are facing. Luke’s chapters are beautifully written, at times a bit hard to read as Picoult shows us exactly what Luke does to become part of the pack. But are Luke’s experiences so different from what we humans do to maintain our family relationships? Don’t we all struggle sometimes, to live within our families, to maintain our relationships, even during times of great stress and tragedy? Are we really that different from the wolves?
Lone Wolf is the story of a family struggling to come to understand each other, to continue loving each other despite being torn apart. It’s  about a family’s struggles to make an impossible decision. 
Jodi Picoult is a master at crafting characters that are flawed, believable, and human. When I finished this book last night at 10:00 p.m., I sat for awhile, thinking about my struggles to live within my family, about the losses we have endured. I’m a daughter, a sister, a mother, and a grandmother; I not only felt this family’s struggles, I felt they were my own. 
Jodi Picoult is going to be at The Seattle Public Library on Thursday, March 8, 2012, from 7-8:30. I will be there with my camera, wearing my obsessive fan cap and clutching my advanced reader copy of Lone Wolf, hoping to get a few good pictures of the author.
I give Lone Wolf 5 stars, a wow must read. 
Click here for hardcover!
Click here for Kindle format!

BOOK TOUR – Don’t forget that Jodi is going on a book tour for Lone Wolf!!! Click here to view the tour schedule and see if she’s stopping by a town near you!


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  1. Karen Correll says:

    I had pre-ordered this book and glad to see the great review Beth..I love Jodi’s books and seems I won’t be disappointed by this one..Thanks for the review!!

  2. I haven’t read ANY of her books…..I feel like they’ll be depressing tear jerkers. Well written, yes, probably, but I don’t like crying. :/ Great review, tho!

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