Title: The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars
Author: Shivaun Plozza
Publication Date: November 17, 2020
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 384
Goodreads Rating: 4.26
A boy and his pet fox go on a quest to find a wolf who has eaten all the stars in the sky before the Shadow Witch destroys the stars and removes good magic from the world forever.
Long ago, the land of Ulv was filled with magic. But that was before a wolf ate all the Stars in the night sky, ridding the world of magic and allowing Shadow Creatures, beasts made of shadow and evil, to flourish. Twelve-year-old Bo knows the stories but thinks the Stars and the wolf who ate them are nothing more than myths—until the day Bo’s guardian, Mads, is attacked by a giant wolf straight from the legends. With his dying breath, Mads tells Bo that Ulv is in danger and the only way to prevent the Shadow Creatures from taking over is to return the Stars to the sky.
And so Bo—accompanied by his best friend, a fox called Nix, a girl named Selene who’s magic is tied to the return of the Stars, and Tam, a bird-woman who has vowed to protect Bo at all costs—sets off on a quest to find the three magical keys that will release the Stars. But Bo isn’t the only one who wants the Stars, and the friends soon find themselves fleeing angry villagers, greedy merchants, and a vengeful wolf. And all the while, an evil witch lurks in the shadows and time is running out.
Shivaun Plozza is an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. Her debut novel, Frankie, was a CBCA Notable Book and won a number of awards, including the Davitt Awards and a commendation from the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Her second novel, Tin Heart, sold in three foreign territories, received two starred reviews, and was nominated to ALA’S Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Her debut middle-grade novel, The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars, is forthcoming in 2020 from HMH Books for Young Readers and Penguin Random House Australia. She is a frequent contributor to anthologies, and when she is not writing she works as an editor and manuscript assessor.
I am beyond excited to be participating in TBR and Beyond’s blog tour for The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars. For my stop on the blog tour, I will be sharing a review of the middle grade book as well as some of my favorite quotes. The list of my favorite quotes can be found below my review. If you have had a chance to read The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments! I would love to discuss the book with you!
As soon as I read the premise of The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars, I knew that I needed to add the book to the top of my never-ending TBR list (but let’s be realistic, what bookworm doesn’t have an extremely long TBR list?). I loved the idea of reading a story about a world that had no stars. Immediately, I wanted to discover the reasoning behind the stars’ initial disappearance and learn whether the stars would return. Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the e-ARC! All opinions are my own.
When I read stories, I like characters who are flawed (bonus, if they are also morally grey!). For me, flawed characters are more realistic and as such, those are the ones that readers can learn from the most. In The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars, all of Plozza’s main characters are flawed. Bo, Tamira, and Selene each make mistakes and regret the decisions they have made. Yet, each of them still strives to be a better person. They are not perfect, and it is the imperfection that makes them such wonderful role models. The only perfect (and adorable!) character is Nix, but he is Bo’s pet fox and is given a pass.
Reading usually becomes an immersive experience for me, so I also like it when authors incorporate strong word-building into their stories. With The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars, Plozza has written a phenomenal standalone novel! Not only is the world-building fantastic, but she also incorporates mythology that she created for her world. Sprinkled throughout the novel are excerpts from The True Histories of ULV, which provides extra tidbits about Plozza’s world. I particularly liked how an excerpt of The True Histories of ULV would build upon events that were simultaneously occurring in the plot.
The Boy, and The Wolf, and The Stars is more than just a tale about a boy who embarks on a quest with his friends to return the stars to the sky. The story is also about found family, inner strength, and forgiveness. For those readers who are looking for a great standalone, The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars is a thoroughly enjoyable read that combines strong characters and fantastic world-building.
He set his jaw, pushing down all the doubt, all the voices he carried with him, the sneering, jeering, snide voices of the people back home who had called him names and made him feel small. It didn’t matter whether he could do it; he had to do it.
“Why are people so cruel?” she asked, heartbreak shimmering in her eyes as she looked up at Bo. “Why do the people who are supposed to love and protect you hurt you the most?”
In many ways her kindness hurt him—how could a near-stranger treat him better than his own flesh and blood, his own guardian?
Bo had learned that no matter what you did, you could never force someone to want you, to love you, if they didn’t have it in them. And it hurt so much to try and try and try and always fail.
“Forgiveness is a tricky thing. It is a wonderful gift, to forgive or to be forgiven. But it must be earned and it cannot be forced.”
“Doesn’t mean I’ll forget what they did and it doesn’t excuse it,” he said. “It means I won’t give them power over me anymore. Because that’s what hate does. It get me all tangled up with people who don’t even care about me—trying to figure out why they treat me bad, what I did wrong, how I can get my revenge on them. But their hate isn’t my responsibility. I’ll do what I can to put things right but I won’t hate them; I won’t punish them like for like. I’ll fight back. I’ll make a difference. I might even forgive them one day, if they earn it. But I won’t let hate win.”
“Perhaps,” said Tam. “But you will not know unless you try, and there is power in trying even when you know you might fail.”
Part of Bo wondered why—why would they risk so much for him? He wasn’t worth it. Look at everything he’s done wrong! But another part—the voice inside that had always been shouted down by the villagers and the nasty, hateful things they convinced him to believe about himself—reminded him of all the good he had done. Hadn’t he proven that it didn’t matter how many time he failed? He’d always tried again until he’d succeeded.
Where can I buy The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars?
Be sure to check out the rest of the TBR and Beyond Blog Tour for The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars! You can either click here or on the blog tour banner found above to see the other blogs/Instagram accounts that are participating in the tour.
What are your thoughts on The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars? Do you have a favorite quote? If you haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, will you be adding it to your TBR? Let us know in the comments!