Monday, December 3, 2012

Raised by Wolves

Raised by Wolves
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
ISBN: 978-1606840597
Edgemont, 2010

Plot Summary: When 15-year-old Bryn was four she saw her parents brutally murdered by a rogue werewolf. Alone, she was adopted by Callum, the alpha of the pack of werewolves that saved her from certain death. She’s been raised by the pack ever since and doesn’t really fit in with ordinary everyday human life. For the first time, however, the pack is hiding a big secret from her and when Bryn goes against Callum’s wishes and hunts down the secret she is put face to face with Chase—a 17-year-old boy who survived a werewolf attack and is now actually going to change into a werewolf. This is huge news for the pack because no one has survived a werewolf attack and lived to change themselves in years. Bryn fells a connection to Chase and wants to be involved in his treatment as the pack attempts to determine if he will be stable when he turns and if they can break the mental connection he has with his attacker/maker. Following strict rules Callum puts in place, Bryn is allowed to interact with Chase. However, when one meeting accidentally puts the two of them too close together, Bryn ends up rewriting Chase’s pack bound with her maker and ties him to herself instead of Callum’s pack. In doing so, she unwittingly breaks pack law and needs to be punished. Callum, unable to do it himself, makes Bryn’s best friend’s mother dole out the punishment—a beating that nearly causes her to die. Barely frazzled, she recovers and learns from Chase that the werewolf that changed him is the same—supposedly dead—wolf that killed her family. She sets out to find the rogue wolf with the intent to kill him even if her pack for some reason has let him live for so long. With the help of Chase and her two friends, Devon and Leah, she discovers the horrible truth about the wolf, Wilson, and why his life is more valued than his death among the wolf packs. Bryn doesn’t care though as she and her friends set out to stop the rouge maniac before he kills again even if it will bring about the vengeance of her pack. 

Critical Evaluation: Finally a paranormal book for teens that is truly a paranormal story with little real romance (or a love triangle) anywhere to be seen! Bryn is a strong female leader. She may be a human among wolves but she is just as strong, if not stronger, in some ways than her fellow pack members. She realizes that she has a special “knack”—she is resilient and is a survivor and that makes her stronger than most humans. She is a character that stands up for what she believes in and fights Wilson with a very unique perspective all her own. She has all the hallmarks of being a strong leader herself. When she “claims” Chase it isn’t in an “I now own you” type of way that we see among many relationships in teen paranormal stories but more of a mutual connection of respect that ties them together. Their connection truly is a connection. “Connection” isn’t used as just another way of saying lust—in fact they never even kiss in the book. So while there is some love on a certain level, the story is really about a girl standing up for what she believes in and fights to be a leader. It is a refreshing paranormal tale and I highly recommend it. One of my favorite series of the year that I have read.

Reader's Annotation: Ever since her parents were brutally killed, Bryn has been raised a human among a werewolf pack.  Her feeling of security goes out the window when a boy her age, Chase, is attacked by a rabid were and, instead of dying from his wounds, turns—a very, very rare occurrence. Thing get more upsetting when she is lead to believe that the rabid is the man who killed her family.

Author Information: Jennifer Lynn Barnes was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen. Barnes graduated high school in 2002 and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science in 2006. She was awarded a Fulbright to do post-graduate work at Cambridge, and then returned to the states, where she is hard at work on her PhD (Barnes, 2012).  

Genre: Fantasy, Horror

Curriculum Ties:  N/A

Booktalking Ideas: Appeal to fans of Buffy and the like (for strong female characters). Appeal to the non-romantic paranormal fans with this action packed story.  

Reading Level/Interest Age: 15+

Challenge Issues: Language, violence

Challenge Defense: If this book were challenged, I would make sure the library has a Challenge Defense File ready for such a situation. Inside the Challenge Defense File, librarians and the public could find:

·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the library’s own selection policy (my library, the La Vista Public Library, has a policy but it is not online so I can’t link to it as an example).
·        A copy of the library’s citizen’s complaint/reconsideration form (my library, the La Vista Public Library’s, form is called the City of La Vista Service Request form).
·        Copies of reviews—both good and bad—from reputable library and publishing services to justify why a book was selected for inclusion in the collection. These include not only reviews from such journals as School Library Journal, VOYA, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, but also any mention of books on YALSA lists and other copies of articles about any awards or nominations such books may have received.
·        Include a short rationale file for other coworkers so if the librarian in charge of selecting materials is not available when a challenge occurs the other staff members have some information to go by (the rational would include such information as a short summary, what could be challenged, reviews, awards and nominations, etc.)
·        Include for staff members a copy of “Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials,” a document written by the American Library Association. Make sure that staff reviews this document periodically so they are prepared and know how to face such situations. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at

Reason for Inclusion:  One of the few paranormal fantasy series out there that is not all about a love triangle. This is more about character and world building instead of a human girl getting it on with a supernatural creature. Recommend purchase of the entire trilogy—Taken by Storm and Trial by Fire.


Barnes, J.L. (2012). Bio. Retrieved from

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