“You know, Nika, a wild pup is not a pet, not a dog. However much we get him to accept us, he’s still a wild animal.” “I know,” Nika said, her voice low. Of course she knew the pup was a wild animal. Of all people, she knew not to get her heart set on anything. In the dark, as she listened to the pup’s wheezing snores and moans, she reached put her hand to feel the rise and fall of his breathing. She snuggled down. Just touching him, she felt better.
Nika and her brother have been orphans for the past two years. Suddenly, their uncle wants them to summer with him in the remote wilderness of Minnesota. Nika doesn’t trust this uncle she’s never seen before and resents being pulled away from the only home she has ever known in California. Once she gets to Red Pine, Minnesota, Nika feels cut off from all she’s ever known. A trip north with her uncle soon introduces her to the beauty of the wilderness, and the fragility of life, as they discover an orphaned wolf pup. Nika can’t help but be drawn to the helpless pup as she begs to take him back and try to save him. Nika soon learns how difficult it is to raise a wolf pup and still remain detached from the wild creature. As the summer winds down, she wonders where her place is in the world, and whether she will be able to keep Khan, as she has named the wolf pup. This book will appeal to animal lovers and those looking to discover their identity in the world.
Recommended by Alice L. Cyphers, Librarian and Reading Specialist, Pennsylvania, USA