Carol Rifka Brunt's compelling, coming-of-age story explores the obstacles that June faces when her loving, HIV positive uncle and best friend passes away. Set in the 1980s, the boom of the AIDS epidemic, Tell the Wolves I'm Home explores the life of June, a misunderstood young teenager in New York City. June spends most of her time by herself, rather than with friends, or with her sister due to their gradual drift from one another. Though June is often lonely, the one thing she looks forward to most is spending time with her HIV positive uncle, Finn.
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June always thought that she and Finn shared everything, from stories to secrets, until Finn suddenly passes away. At Finn's funeral, June meets a mysterious, thin, pale man of about Finn's age. The man asks to see June, and she unwillingly agrees.
Soon after meeting with Toby, the mysterious man, June eventually finds herself enthralled with him, as he reminds her so much of Finn.
June is hurt when she first discovers that Toby was Finn's long-term, secret boyfriend because she had often toyed with the idea that she might be in love with Finn, herself. Yet June comes to terms with her affection for both Toby and Finn, and is able to maintain a healthy, yet secretive relationship with him.
Soon, the truth inevitably surfaces, and June realizes that Finn had entrusted Toby with the task of befriending and taking care of June after his passing. Despite feeling betrayed, June is won over by Toby's humorous and loving demeanor, and they are able to stay friends until Toby becomes ill.
June sneaks to the hospital with the help of her sister, and is able to transport Toby to her house in time for him to say his last goodbyes.
Just before Toby passes away, June confesses that she may have loved her uncle, and despite herself, has fallen in love with Toby too.
Best part of story, including ending:
The story was intriguing, with unexpected twists and details. Despite the heavy, sensitive material, the novel carried a tone of humor and lightheartedness that allowed the story to stick with me. This is one of the few books that has made me cry out of both sadness and happiness.
Best scene in story:
There was a scene in the novel, when the protagonist, June, and her new friend, Toby first meet. The entire scene is full of humorous awkwardness, as well as touching and realistic moments.
Opinion about the main character:
June's stubborness disagreed with me, partly because it reminded me of myself, and partly because it is agrivating to see a character you have grown attached to suffer from their own emotional mistakes.