Brunt, Carol Rifka. Tell the Wolves I'm Home
In this moving coming-of-age story, introspective June Elbus is only understood by one person in the entire world, her Uncle Finn, a free-spirited artist. But when he dies of AIDS, a new and misunderstood illness in 1987, June plummets into an emotional darkness, unreachable even by her older sister Greta, desperate to recreate the friendship they had before Finn.
June has been told to stay away from the lanky, sad-looking man who she saw waiting outside her Uncle's funeral. His name is Toby and June is told he is the one responsible for Finn's death. But June is drawn towards him and after his secretive attempts to contact her, June finally agrees to meet with him. What she discovers is both exhilerating and heart-breaking: a side of Finn she never knew about. While their unlikely friendship begins to grow, June struggles to hide Toby from the rest of her family but knows at some point her secret will be revealed. However, she is unable to forsee the powerful events that will lead to this revelation and the effect it will have.
This debut novel from Brunt is beautifully written and a sure-bet for literary fiction fans. The sense of suspicion and fear of AIDS in the eighties is skillfully recreated by the author, an important part of our recent history that is oftentimes overlooked.