Publisher: Dundurn Press
Publication Date: June, 2010
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Eleven-year-old Danny Ryan and 19-year-old Wendy Marshall think their friendship is only about looking after two baby raccoons that Danny has rescued. But when a bank holdup upsets Wendy so much that she can hardly stand to be around people, she leaves her job as a teller, retreats to a farm, and surrounds herself with injured and orphaned wildlife. Danny, neglected at home and considered weird in a town where other boys are into hunting, finds peace on the farm, too, plus excitement, as he and Wendy adopt ever more exotic animals such as llamas, bobcats, a serval, an ocelot, and a blind lynx.
Over time the two friends develop a bond that goes beyond care of the animals to caring for each other. As it turns out, Wendy rescues not just wildlife but Danny, as well. What's more, the bank robbers are still at large and still a threat, and Danny, now 14, must act to save Wendy's life.
Wild Spirits is a quiet, beautiful book. I was drawn in instantly, and I have to say this is one of my favorite books that has ever been sent to me for review.
Wild Spirits takes place in rural Arkansas, where we meet Wendy, a nineteen year old bank teller, and her new young friend Danny. They're drawn together after a traumatic bank robbery leaves Wendy wary of people. Danny was already wary of people, he's bullied by kids in town, and his family life isn't anything to write home about.
The bulk of the action in Wild Spirits takes place a few years after Danny and Wendy meet. Wendy is married to a policeman named Kyle, and Danny is collecting cans and doing odd jobs to avoid his horrible home life. They come together to help care for wounded wild life, and in turn, care for each other.
I learned so much about animals through this book, as Wendy cares from everything from lynxes to llamas. Caring for wounded animals gives Wendy's life purpose, and I have to admire the sacrifices that Wendy and her husband make in order to do so. The animals are often a humorous element in the book, as several of them have their own distinct personalities!
Wendy's life is a happy one until those bank robbers make a reappearance. Still, even after that, Wendy refuses to become a prisoner in her own home. She's scared, but she goes on with her life. Wendy is a strong young woman, and throughout the course of the book, Danny finds his own strength.
My only issue with this book is that the ending was lacking the tension I had been hoping for. Other than that, I thought this book was a wonderful, quick read. If you're an animal lover looking for something a bit different to read, or are looking for a wonderful book for your children to read, I highly recommend Wild Spirits!
I'm giving away a copy of Wild Spirits, please enter below! US & Canada only, contest closes on August 30th.