She Named Me Wolf


Young Adult - Coming of Age
353 Pages
Reviewed on 01/17/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite

She Named Me Wolf by Tenkara Smart takes you into the life of a boy named Wolf. Wolf lives in fear with his alcoholic father. However, Wolf ends up being faced with the choice of a lifetime. His best friend Polly, who is a ghost, helps him choose to either stay in his current life or move on. What choice will Wolf make? Can he keep moving through this life based on the power of his imagination and past lives, or will he move on?

As a believer in past lives, I was really excited to read a coming-of-age story that had the twist of past lives being involved. She Named Me Wolf did not disappoint and is a fantastic read involving life and the soul's struggle to make it through the trials presented to us in each life. Abuse is a hard topic to tackle, but Tenkara Smart does a beautiful job of weaving the fabric of this story.

She Named Me Wolf by Tenkara Smart was a stunning read and I look forward to reading the next book in this series. I stayed engaged with this book and Wolf’s journey. Polly was a fun twist; I mean, how many people have a best friend that is a ghost? Most importantly, this story really is one of endurance and the strength that can be found within if you are willing to look for it. If you are a fan of YA novels and great storytelling, this book will be for you. It is beautifully told, emotional, and achingly beautiful.

Review by Esther Archer Lakhani

A story of survival, and a whole lot more.
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2020
Tragic and haunting and a not-to-miss read. Tenkara Smart has used vivid imagery and suggestive imagination to weave this tale of a young boy's ability to withstand an abusive beginning to life. I was drawn in by a brief but gripping one-pager Chapter One, instantly aware that this was a book I wanted to read. The writing is clean, sometimes stark, sometimes fantastical. The tone is dark, sometimes painful, sometimes magical. The story is a sad one, no doubt about it, and as I continued through the sometimes short, sometimes long chapters, I became impressed by Smart's ability to keep the reader one hundred percent engaged. I wasn't feeling energized or encouraged that things would work out in brave, young Wolf's favor but I was feeling compelled to find out what happens at the end. It's a good ending, worth some justified heartache. A definite recommended read.

Review by Shawn Dunnum

Was very intrigued by the storyline. The type of behavior/abuse that Wolf was subjected to is more common than we’d like to believe. Wolf having his Sensei, animal friends and best friend Polly to help him through may give others in his situation inspiration to find something to focus on to help them through their tougher times. There was also some real-life teaching throughout the book as Tenkara used and provided definition of the Japanese words used in and outside of the martial arts training Wolf received. The ending was such a surprise and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

A whimsical ride!

Tenkara Smart weaves a delightful coming of age story of struggle, survival, and happiness found in an imaginary world. Despite difficult circumstances, Wolf triumphs as he creates his playful adventures with his entourage. I can't wait to see where Wolf's journey takes him next!

Review by CC-a wonderful story

This was an amazing read! It goes in depth of the life of a young boy named Wolf. Wolf has adventures like no other child his age, and it’s a thrill to read them! Although he has a tough home life, his many friends help him along the way. I highly recommend this book!

Review by Sarah Elyse

Reviewed in the United States on January 6, 2021
In her novel “She Named Me Wolf,” author Tenkara Smart excels at exploring darker themes such as child abuse and the depression that happens as a result. The story starts when Wolf is a young boy of five years, and ends when he is fifteen. Quiet young Wolf is considered odd, for although he has many friends, he is the only one who can hear them talk. His best friend is the spirit of a young girl named Polly, who stays by his side through his dark childhood. Wolf’s father is a violent drunk, and he often hits Wolf as a child and forces him to spend all night in a box. He is also abusive towards Wolf’s mother, Lizzie, who is often seen with bruises. But Wolf has been training in karate since he was six years old, waiting for the day when he is old enough, brave enough, and strong enough to stand up to his abusive father at last.

I loved this book. It was though provoking, and the end completely stunned me. I felt connected to Wolf and was proud to see him progress over the course of the novel. I hope there will be more to this series.

Review by Nandra Hoffman

Reviewed in the United States on December 8, 2020
What a wonderful, wild ride this book was. The plotline was very engaging and had me drawn into the world. Wolf's character is very human, I love that his genius isn't overbearing and is relatable. Whole-heartedly, I enjoyed the complex characters, the conflicts, the ups, and the downs. Wolf has gone through a lot with the villain in the story and I enjoy him having a runaway that's not physical. The Japanese touch is amazing, the only thing that I can ask for is a pronunciation of the word as many people reading might not understand, the only reason why I knew most of the words is because I watch a lot of anime. I enjoyed that the characters were described in a way that was not too much. You made Wolf a very likable character. I love the reveals in this book, nothing is ever just thrown at you, rather, it's described and then told. The action in this book is very well detailed and made me feel like I was a character in the book. Wolf specifically just doesn't give up, it makes him a likable person, and was very happy that he stayed true to himself in the end. I have a lot to say about this book but rather than spoiling it, I encourage anyone reading this review to hurry and read the book, you are in for a bundle of emotions that even you can't prepare for.

Review by Arianne Baumback

Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2020
Every child copes with trauma in their own way. I wish that as a child I had a "Polly" to help me when I felt alone. This story, about a boy who is subjected to far more than most adults have even experienced in their entire life, is moving. The strength of the boy, the friendship he finds in Polly, and how he overcomes his obstacles is inspirational. This is a MUST READ book.

Very easy, rewarding read

Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2020
Verified Purchase
It's not very often young adult books touch on taboos such as abuse. She Named Me Wolf does a great job showing the reader what Wolf is going through without being graphic or off putting. The book does not require a "trigger warning" as it should not be too intensive for most readers.

There were a few spelling errors scattered throughout but not very consistent or distracting as a reader. However, don't let this stop you from buying the book as it does tell a great story!

I don't normally go for YA but I had my fiancee read the book too and she loved it. She said each chapter left her more and more intrigued. I agree too.

Brilliant and surreal

Reviewed in the United States on August 24, 2020
Verified Purchase
A brilliant and surreal read that starts normally enough. A boy lives in rough conditions but his strong spirit and imagination allow him to persevere and prosper. Does he have magic? It's hard to tell, and that adds a Bridge to Terabithian element to the prose. I love that it made me first think of my own childhood, then gripped me with the terror of violence and the wonder of childhood magic.

Review by author Andi Franklin

Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2020
Verified Purchase
She Names Me Wolf is a beautiful tale of pain, resilience, and companionship found in unexpected places. The author does a great job at blending the harsh realities of Wolf's real life with the fantastical adventures that parallel it. I particularly loved the relationship between Wolf and Polly and felt their connection was a much needed tether when dealing with difficult topics such as abuse in this YA novel.

My favorite excerpt reads, "'Sensei, I won't let you down,' he said, placing the ceramic cup on the table. 'It's not about letting me down. It's about not letting yourself down.'"

I felt this beautifully summarizes the lessons Wolf learns throughout the book about courage, inner strength, and self-respect.

I found Wolf's connection with the earth and all of its creature to be an especially beautiful trait, especially considering his home life circumstances. It was a whimsical reminder that we are all connected, human, animal, and planet alike. Wonderfully done and I look forward to reading more about Wolf's many lives in the upcoming books within this series!

A unique fantasy world that draws you in

Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2020
This book is well worth a read. In She Named Me Wolf, Tenkara Smart creates a unique fantasy world that draws you in and you actually forget that it is a fantasy world.

Whilst not the cheeriest of settings we follow a young boy named Wolf who is in a constant fear of violence at home. This threat of violence does not over power the story, but serves as the backdrop to some imaginative escapism that Wolf employs to create a life that makes him happy.

I loved Polly. Everyone should have a friend like Wolf’s imagined friend Polly. Polly keeps things light and helps Wolf make sense of, and survive in, his world.

This is more than a book about survival. It’s about one young boy’s journey to make sense of the world around him, and it is Wolf’s imaginary world that makes this book a great read.

My only complaint is that the book ended before the story reached a conclusion, but then I remembered this is book one and the story will continue. Bring on book two!

A spiritual, coming of age story

Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2020
Tenkara Smart draws on Aboriginal and Japanese samurai culture to show how the main character, Wolf, can overcome the many obstacles growing up in an abusive family. With the help of talking animals and a ghost best-friend, Wolf realizes he has the strength to seek a better future for himself. Looking forward to this writers next work.

Friensship through it all

Reviewed in the United States on July 28, 2020
Although this YA plot describes a hard life story, complicated and full with the things that wolf had to deal with through his life, it also describes a beautiful friendship along with ways to deal with the difficulties & challenges life can put us through. The writing's flowing and yet there's tension and expectation from one chapter to the next.

Review by Robyn Norwood

Tenkara Smart is Genius
Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2020
Very Intriguing! Give it a read.

Review by LA Evans Books

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 October 2020
This isn’t the usual genre that I would normally read. However, I was pleasantly surprised. A beautiful storyline with a very serious message. This is not an easy topic to approach but this author does so with compassion and empathy. I’m impressed with this authors sophisticated style of writing, it keeps you reading and turning the next page. Thank you for an interesting and thought-provoking read. You completely warm to the characters and it really is a beautiful read! I look forward to future novels from this author.

Review by Kiera Watson

A thought-provoking and beautiful read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 July 2020
Quite rarely does a book broach the topic of abuse in its raw form but "She Named Me A Wolf" did just that!
I am impressed by the way Smart maneuvered the plotline to accommodate all aspects of living in a abusive household. She also incorporated ideas surrounding Wolf's state of mind via his dialogues which clearly depicted the protagonist's personal struggles.

The composition reads extremely well and gets the message across in a calm, relaxed manner despite the harrowing circumstances of its main character. I believe this sets the book apart since the gloomy aspects aren't dwelled on and Smart knows what resonates with readers on a personal level

All in all, a lovely attempt at showcasing an important social issue and highly recommended to all those looking for a stimulating read.

Reviewed by F.S.

Highly recommended!
Reviewed in Canada on October 12, 2020
"All our emotions come from within, Happiness, calm, and love come from the same place as unhappiness, fear and hate and the emotions you feel are dependent on how you react to things."

She named me Wolf by Tenkara Smart slowly pulls you into a world of mystery and inner strength, and it captures the essence of past lives so beautifully. Our main character is introduced as a scared boy, and we witness a formidable growth arc and journey through his friendship with a ghost. It is an emotional read as it deals with abuse, but I love how the author has managed to weave it purposefully into the overall story. I was transported from the Australian capital to a dojo in Japan to the African Savanah. The end was the icing on the cake, and I can't wait to pick up the next book.
Highly recommend.

Review by Raj S.

Reviewed in Canada on November 22, 2020
I usually read only mysteries, but I decided to give “She Named Me Wolf” a try to expand into other genres, and I have to admit, this was a transformative read! The writing is simple, reflective of a young narrator, yet compelling and draws in readers no matter their age. I absolutely loved the infusion of Japanese culture. The issues discussed are very real and one can’t help but get a bit teary-eyed sometimes as we watch the life of Wolf unfold. I’m looking forward to book 2!

A eat tale of overcoming hardship...

Reviewed in Canada on January 11, 2021
I really enjoyed this tale of a young boy who befriends a "ghost" and learns how to overcome an abusive situation. The writing style is descriptive yet keeps the plot moving forward. I loved how the protagonist finds a way to deal with the situation in a productive way, which isn't always easy especially for a kid. The twist at the end really surprised me and I look forward to reading the second book.

Aarron

She Named Me Wolf is a book of friendship and coming of age with unforgettable characters. Wolf, the main character, has a difficult life at home and it is his best friend Polly who helps him cope and survive - and Polly is a ghost. Wolf also has a strong relationship with his martial arts teacher who is committed to helping Wolf defend himself against bullying and abuse, and we find out that Wolf also believes he was samurai warrior in a past life, which explains why he excels in karate at such a young age. Though Wolf grows up in an abusive home, the author does an excellent job of focusing on the positive experiences Wolf ha, including his adventures with his imaginary friends. The book is inspiring and uplifting and Wolf and Polly are memorable characters. This is book one in a series and I recommend She Named Me Wolf and look forward to the next book by Tenkara Smart.

Jordan Gibson

I was very excited and honored to read this novel. Its length and content are perfect for anyone who likes the YA genre. There are plenty of fantastical elements for those interested in fantasy/sci-fi, and integration of both Australian and Japanese cultures. I was able to dedicate myself to reading this book in one day thanks to rainy weather at the campground.

Mrs. Smart did well in writing about a young boy living in an abusive household. It’s never easy to write about this topic and toe the line of physical violence being “too descriptive” vs. “not descriptive enough”. I thought that she handled the balance perfectly and although what Wolf went through was harrowing, I never felt overwhelmed by it, and it did not affect my ability to continue reading. The way that Wolf escapes reality seems very authentic for a victim of abuse, and I commend the author for her ability to write about a tough subject.

In future novels for the series “The Many of Lives of Wolf”, there are a few issues that I would love to see addressed. I felt that the few spelling and grammatical errors were distracting and took away from my personal reading experience. I mostly noticed mistakes ranging from the wrong “your/you’re” and “to/too” to mixing of Australian vs. American English (mainly with “colour/color”). Additionally, I felt that the pacing at the beginning and end of the book was a little frantic. The author could have easily added a few chapters to allow for more cohesion and less rushing. I would also like to see some more structure in future books - perhaps the chapters could be divided into “parts” if there are time jumps.

Overall, an enjoyable read with a few distracting details. I look forward to reading more in this series, and by Tenkara Smart.

Reads-A-Lot

This is the story of Wolf, a young boy, lost and confused with an embedded fear of his controlling and abusive father. He has a stutter and a dear friend named Polly, who can only be seen by Wolf. It would seem he has a wild imagination and often plays with his imaginary friends. Eventually, he starts taking karate lessons, gradually gaining confidence and self-control. It’s basically about a boy that comes out of his shell.

Narrative was easy, but can be kind of long at times. An okay read.

Darrah Steffen

It was a good book that explored the life of a young boy growing up in an abusive household. His imagination took him to far away places often helping him escape the realities of home.

There were parts of the book where I was not always certain where in the timeline we were. It made it a bit confusing.

Overall, the book was enjoyable

AlaskaVince

Reality can be dealt with in many ways. My imagination was exercised and I was always looking forward to the next page.

I look forward to the saga of Wolf and friends.

Philip Robinson

The life cycle is very inter, how he grows through the years and how different things help to guide him is very good, their are many life applications that applies to today to learn from thanks

RJG McManus

Magical realism is not typically a genre I am drawn to, however, after reading the description for "She Named Me Wolf," my curiosity was piqued, and I decided to give it a chance. I'm so very glad I did. Ms. Smart's story is creative and original, and sensitively grapples with some tough topics, including alcoholism and child abuse. My heart ached for the main character, Wolf, and his situation, and at the same time, I enjoyed the magical world he escaped into. I found myself cheering for his victories, and mourning his losses. The story was beautifully written, and left me full of hope and anxious to see the next steps in Wolf's journey. A well done book indeed.

Robyn

I really enjoyed reading the story of Wolf and Polly's friendship and how Wolf used his imagination to overcome his terrible circumstances at home. Wolf is a memorable character, and so is Polly (who is a ghost), and I was intrigued by how Polly helps Wolf remember his past life as a samurai warrior in Japan. Even though the story is about a boy who is abused by his alcoholic father, the author did a good job of not being too graphic or off-putting with that darker side of the story, and the story focuses more on the inner strength of Wolf and how he copes with the abuse until he is strong enough to make a decision that will change his life forever.

This is book one in a series and I am looking forward to reading book two!

Karen Lee Field

She Named Me Wolf is different from the usual genre I read. The blurb hinted at physical abuse and a ghostly presence, and I felt intrigued enough to read the book.

Although the main character is a child at the start of the book and a teenager at the end, I would not say this is a children’s book. It might be confronting or scary to a young reader. Yet, I felt the author handled the physical abuse in the story in a gentle way (except for a couple of places, I’ll get back to these parts later). This might help a young reader experiencing something similar. However, I believe the two exceptions and swearing indicate the book is aimed at the young adult audience.

Swearing is frequent in today’s life. Although I’m not a person who swears myself, I believe the words used in the book would mirror what would typically be said in an abusive household. In fact, I think they have been watered down a lot. Just to be clear, the book starts out with name-calling and swear words are introduced as the story nears its end. To me, the terms are used in context, and it was not a shock to read them. To be honest, in this case, I feel it gives the storyline authenticity.

The two exceptions I mentioned earlier had a real impact on me. One spoke to me because of personal experience, and I reacted to the words I read seeing another face rather than Wolf’s. The other filled me with real fear. I must give credit to the author for her craft in writing these two scenes. To invoke such a strong reaction and incredible fear in me is no mean feat. In fact, it’s impressive.

The two main character’s, Wolf and Polly, are a perfect mix. Both are smart beyond their years, yet children all the same. I enjoyed reading Wolf’s story. I felt connected to him, and that forced me to keep turning those pages. I was not surprised when Wolf excelled at his “secret” activity. I wanted to learn more about his “travels”. And, although I will never understand why, just like Wolf didn’t understand, I could accept how difficult it must have been for his mother. I’m a firm believer that we don’t know how we will react to something until we experience it ourselves.

Another thing about the book is there are a lot of uplifting phrases and sayings scattered within the chapters. The words tell a story about abuse, but they also give hope. I found the mix to be well balanced.

The only negative thing I can say is that there was a mix of American and Australian grammar/spelling/words, hence the 4.5 stars. At one point, the use of a non-Australian word jolted me out of the storyline altogether. It was like a slap in the face. A non-Australian reader may not notice this, but for me, it’s essential to be consistent.

She Named Me Wolf left an impression on me, so I have no trouble in recommending it.

SunsetBooksandWine

She Named Me Wolf is a book about survival, friendship, and the power of imagination. The story revolves around the abusive life of a little boy named Wolf. Wolf lives with his abusive father, mother, elder brother Orville, and his many ‘friends’. By the end of the book, he makes a very important decision which will change his life, for the better or worse, we don’t know yet.

Cover Design
The cover design is a stunning piece of work by George Saad. It’s one of those books that you’d pick up and fall in love with immediately. I am a huge fan of silhouettes, so this caught my eye quick.

My New Experiences
I usually don’t read books with paranormal mentions in them. This has to be the first time I read a book with that as one of the main themes.

This was also the first book that I’ve read that had such small chapters. I’m used to reading chapters that range from about 10-15 pages or even more. Most chapters in this book were only 4-6 pages long. I have no complaints here because the shortness of the chapters was something that excited me very much.

Plot
I couldn’t get my eyes off the book for the first 14-15 chapters. That’s how interesting and intriguing the story was in the beginning.

The main plot and purpose were quite unclear even till halfway through the book. That set me off but I forced myself to stick through and tried hard not to skip paragraphs.

As the book progressed to the end, I was so drawn into it like how the beginning had me drawn in. The climax left me wanting to desperately read the second instalment of the series.

Ages
One important aspect of the book is that it shows us Wolf’s life from when he was six years old and leaves us with him at fifteen. This however meant quick shifts of age between chapters. In some chapters, the difference in this age was beautifully and subtly mentioned. Towards the end, we run through about four years of his life within half a page, and I have no complaints there. I love how cleverly the author runs through these four years and that itself is worth a read. It was not something I expected.

Dialogue
I’m left with mixed feelings about the dialogues between the characters of the book. The dialogue at some places felt very unreal while in others, they were so bluntly realistic. The conversations carried by the animals and birds felt very real,...Lots of optimism, life lessons, and humour shared.

Like mentioned above, there are quick shifts between the ages. It would’ve been lovely if there was more emphasis on how Wolf’s mannerisms and voice changes as he grows...

...the parts that had raw and authentic dialogue are the ones that are staying with me, so overall it was still good.

The Imagination
Throughout the book, Wolf is seen talking to birds and animals and having a friendly rapport with them...It’s beautiful how the author has captured the innocence of a little boy...

The Abuse
I loved the sections that mentioned the abuse that young Wolf was going through mainly for two reasons. Firstly, the abuse was brought to life and I could find myself wincing at most places. Second, the descriptions of the abuse weren’t too graphic. This is quite incredible since the intensity of the abuse is explained without too much description.

The Characters
All characters in the book felt very real to me, including the ones that are imaginary to such an extent that I keep forgetting that they are imaginary. I love the characterisations of Wolf’s family members. The Japanese characters are quite memorable too.

Values and Message
The values taught and the messages passed on, on their own, make this book a must-read. This book beautifully captures the intensity of abuse, the power of one’s imagination, and human interactions. There are a lot of things that are subtly spoken about in this book that isn’t often spoken about loudly (such as abuse, paranormal experiences, imaginary friends etc). Despite how ‘imaginary friends’ sound childish, the extent of how important or helpful that might be to someone is marvellously captured by the author.

Conclusion
I think this book by itself is a piece of art. I love the ideals behind the book, the purpose, the craft established by the author and the creative and clever literary ways of her writing.

Despite the slow plot in the middle, the values and the messages that are being given, and the literary craft of the author make it an interesting read.

Sarah Kjeldsen

A great tale of overcoming hardship and believing in yourself

I really enjoyed this tale of a young boy who befriends a "ghost" and learns how to overcome an abusive situation. The writing style is descriptive yet keeps the plot moving forward. I loved how the protagonist finds a way to deal with the situation in a productive way, which isn't always easy especially for a kid. The twist at the end really surprised me and I look forward to reading the second book.

Jia Hartsiva

I usually read only mysteries, but I decided to give “She Named Me Wolf” a try to expand into other genres, and I have to admit, this was a transformative read! The writing is simple, reflective of a young narrator, yet compelling and draws in readers no matter their age. I absolutely loved the infusion of Japanese culture. The issues discussed are very real and one can’t help but get a bit teary-eyed sometimes as we watch the life of Wolf unfold. I’m looking forward to book 2!

Natalie Anglin

She Named Me Wolf is a very interesting read! It’s a beautiful story of coming-of-age and resilience through any means possible. I loved the exploration of an imaginative world as an escape from a dark life. It does have some darker themes (such as child abuse) but I think for the most part, they are handled well in the novel.
My main caveat is that I found the writing style a bit too juvenile for my taste - despite it being a younger narrator, the story seems geared to a slightly older audience so the writing seems slightly out of place. However, this is a minor issue that didn’t bother me greatly, especially as I got more into the book.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in reading a story of a child who finds hope in what seems to be a hopeless world.

Matthew Rawlins

A heart wrenching book with the power of imagination at its core.

The book takes on very delicate issues entwined within the narrative. Wolf's journey is unpredictable, terrifying but ultimately empowering. I think the author is very brave to take on the subject of 'domestic abuse' it is one that strikes a chord, in unique ways, to most of us. It's hard to read sometimes but you are drawn to Wolf and want to see his redemption.

Having studied Shamanism for some years I really appreciated the spiritual, magical realism aspects of the novel which lift it out of the pain and struggle and remind you we can all triumph and all things are transient.

A triumph.

Robert Drummond

This book is well worth a read. In She Named Me Wolf, Tenkara Smart creates a unique fantasy world that draws you in and you actually forget that it is a fantasy world.

Whilst not the cheeriest of settings we follow a young boy named Wolf who is in a constant fear of violence at home. This threat of violence does not over power the story, but serves as the backdrop to some imaginative escapism that Wolf employs to create a life that makes him happy.

I loved Polly. Everyone should have a friend like Wolf’s imagined friend Polly. Polly keeps things light and helps Wolf make sense of, and survive in, his world.

This is more than a book about survival. It’s about one young boy’s journey to make sense of the world around him and it is Wolf’s imaginary world that makes this book a great read.

My only complaint is that the book ended before the story reached a conclusion, but then I remembered this is book one and the story will continue. Bring on book two!

Esther

This book is a great YA book! The characters were well written and helped draw me into the story even more! The author perfectly balanced how she portrayed the abusive household and imperfect family! I think it’s good to have books that show the other side of things when everything isn’t perfect and this book did it wonderfully! I highly recommend!

Okechukwu Onianwa

...She Named Me Wolf is truly remarkable. The author guides you through the complex life of Wolf, the protagonist, and his relationships with his companions as well as his previous incarnations.

Wolf’s major challenge is his abusive father. The ill treatment he experiences in his home is fully described at various points in the story. Readers should be prepared. I was not ready for the strong emotions that arose within me. I occasionally clenched my fists, thinking of how I would react if I were in Wolf’s shoes or if I were present to defend him from his father. Oh, if only I could crawl into the book! Expect a beautiful read.
...Who can read? The book is suited for adults. However, because of the clear description of abuse, some may find parts of it disturbing.

The Characters
The characters of She Named Me Wolf are rich with flavour. You cannot help but fall in love with Wolf, the main protagonist. You can sense his struggle. He yearns to be accepted by his father and cannot understand why he is being ill-treated. It’s also beautiful to read how he relates with his companions. They provide the support and guidance that he doesn’t receive from his family. Wolf learns valuable lessons in his journey and grows in confidence.

Apart from Wolf, the book is full of three-dimensional characters. There’s Polly, the ghost, whose appearance changes relative to how she is feeling. There’s Lizzie, Wolf’s mother, who absolutely loves him yet feels powerless to protect him from his father’s abuse. And let’s not forget Wolf’s imaginary friends and acquaintances. I particularly enjoyed the dialogue between Wolf and Walter the eagle, as well as that between Wolf and Wellington the Wombat.

The only character I felt was not explored fully is Wolf’s older brother Orville. Other than the occasional dialogue, his love for a variety of sports and the special treatment he receives from his father, there’s not much else there. He was clearly his father’s favourite. I would have loved to read and understand his relationship with the rest of the family, especially with Lizzie with his mother.

What Could Have Been Better
There were a few parts of the story where I felt like I had no idea what was going on. As Wolf constantly engaged with actual people, ghosts and imaginary friends, it was difficult sometimes telling one from the other.

What I loved
I have already hinted at various aspects of the novel I enjoyed. I loved the characters and their complex personalities. With such an imagination, I think the author would be also successful in writing children’s books. It will be easy for children to enjoy the personalities of Wolf’s childhood friends.

The Cover! Beautiful! I was immediately drawn to the book’s appearance. I love the colour mix and the use of negative space and silhouette in the image of wolf and his friends.

The story is very captivating, and the ending is perfect, setting the tone for the next book in the series. It is important a story ends well, and this book does not disappoint. The book is also cinematic. If it were ever adapted into film, I would definitely give it a watch.

Final Comments
She Named Me Wolf is a captivating novel, touching on the issue of physical and emotional abuse, and a boy’s journey to overcoming his fears. Wolf’s circumstance is one that a considerable number of people will relate to. I highly recommend it.

Damien Hanson

A tremendous novel that read that mixes the tremendous styles of Bridge to Terabithia with Miso Soup. It is a magical tale of childhood play mixed with the hardship of abuse and the confusion of broken family. I loved it!

Jillian

It's a beautiful story about a young boy named Wolf. Wolf lives in an abusive household and appears to be quite lonely, but he has many friends... Most of us just don't have the ability to communicate with them.
His connection to nature and beyond is absolutely magic. Your heart will break for this little boy, but you'll be rooting for him the entire time. He's stronger, smarter and more inspiring than most of us could ever hope to be.
I don't read a lot of YA novels but I'm do glad I went with my gut on this one... I can't wait to read more of Wolf's journey

Mark Andrew

A friend recommend I read this debut novel from a debut Author. I am very happy that I took the suggestion. "She Named Me Wolf" is a story that will awaken all your senses. How this little boy navigates through a life of fear and uncertainty will inspire you. Be prepared to be angry, sad, fearful, shed a few tears and laugh out loud.
This book will touch so many people on so many levels, it is spiritual, dark and fun, and while there are hard to read gut wrenching moments it is also light and playful. She Named ME Wolf bought back memories for me that I either forgot or had blocked and I am certain it will have the same effect on anyone who reads it.
To finish my review I will just say "I loved it" and I cant wait to see what this exciting new author Tenkara Smart does next.
P.S. I really loved the character who named him Wolf.

Okechukwu Reads and Writes

She Named Me Wolf by Tenkara Smart is a truly captivating. It touches on the issue of physical and emotional abuse, and a boy’s journey to overcoming his fears. Wolf’s circumstance is one that a number of people will relate to. I highly recommend it. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Richard Harris

"Captivating"
Reviewed in Australia on 26 January 2021

I was told about this book and the reference to over coming personal struggle. It was a book that was hard to put down and I enjoyed the development of the Characters in the story. I am looking forward to the next book from this author.

Reviewed by Ellen Khodakivska

5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious, thrilling and amazing!
Reviewed in the United States on January 26, 2021
Verified Purchase

Kindle Customer

I really enjoyed this tale of a young boy who befriends a "ghost" and learns how to overcome an abusive situation. The writing style is descriptive yet keeps the plot moving forward. I loved how the protagonist finds a way to deal with the situation in a productive way, which isn't always easy especially for a kid. The twist at the end really surprised me and I look forward to reading the second book.

Reviewed by Pamela Dear

I just wanted to check out the new author with a view to follow and thought it was an adult book.
I'm sure younger the generation would enjoy the story, especially if they enjoy mischievous ghost type tales

C.C.

A wonderful story.
Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2020
Verified Purchase
This was an amazing read! It goes in depth of the life of a young boy named Wolf. Wolf has adventures like no other child his age, and it’s a thrill to read them! Although he has a tough home life, his many friends help him along the way. I highly recommend this book!

Shihan Ookomi

My review is quiet simple...this book will touch the hearts and souls of people from all walks of life. It is a book that will make you laugh, cry get angry and laugh out loud. A must read

Pamashelle

Let's start with the book title and cover, I thought both were unique and captivating. I finished this book in about two sitting and couldn't put the book down because I really wanted to know who Polly was, how Wolf would deal with things at home and if Wolf would find a way through his challenging situation. Wolf is such an interesting character and I applaud the author for managing to tackle a difficult topic wonderfully. I enjoyed reading about all the shenanigans Wolf got into and I felt like I could relate to each characters emotions through out because of how well each scene was described. Can't wait for the rest of the series to release. I'm hooked now and am a huge fan.

jillianreadsalot

It's a beautiful story about a young boy named Wolf. Wolf lives in an abusive household and appears to be quite lonely, but he has many friends... Most of us just don't have the ability to communicate with them.
His connection to nature and beyond is absolutely magic. Your heart will break for this little boy, but you'll be rooting for him the entire time. He's stronger, smarter and more inspiring than most of us could ever hope to be.

ReadsbySarita

In her novel "She Named Me Wolf", author Tenkara Smart excels at exploring darker themes such as child abuse and the depression that happens as a result. The story starts when Wolf is a young boy of five years, and ends when he is fifteen. Quiet young Wolf is considered odd, for although he has many friends, he is the only one who can hear them talk. His best friend is the spirit of a young girl named Polly, who stays by his side through his dark childhood. Wolf's father is a violent drunk, and he often hits Wolf as a child and forces him to spend all night in a box. He is also abusive towards Wolf's mother, Lizzie, who is often seen with bruises. But Wolf has been training in karate since he was six years old, waiting for the day when he is old enough, brave enough, and strong enough to stand up to his abusive father at last.

I loved this book. It was thought provoking, and the end completely stunned me. I felt connected to Wolf and was proud to see him progress over the course of the novel. I hope there will be more to this series.

Ashley Hubbard

**4.5 stars rounded up**

She Names Me Wolf by Tenkara Smart is a beautifully written tale of pain and resilience and the first in a series. The harshness of Wolf’s real life and the adventurous fantasy were blended perfectly.

Wolf’s reality is one of an abusive home where he lives with his alcoholic and unpredictable father. The only company he has are his imaginary friends, his martial arts teacher, and a ghost from a past life (Polly).

In order to survive, he relies on Polly, the animals in his yard, his memories from his past life as a samurai warrior, and his imagination.

As someone who has lived through abuse stemming from alcoholics (although not by parents), I felt the author’s depiction was well done. I compartmentalize well, but it doesn’t take much for me to feel triggered around alcohol or abuse. But, I also tend to be drawn towards these storylines too.

As a few others have mentioned, the Australian/American spellings occurring interchangeably, but it doesn’t affect my rating for the book.

She Named Me Wolf is a captivating story that, unfortunately, many people can likely relate to. By the end, you’ll have experienced a boy’s journey of physical and emotional abuse and how he overcomes his reality.

Jana Prackova

Magical, thrilling and captivating!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'She Named Me Wolf' by Tenkara Smart. The story of a young boy, Wolf, and the way he perceives this reality, while tapping into other realms of existence and bonding together the physical and the non-physical, sends the reader on the journey of exploration and wonder.

The author has done a wonderful job, talking about a sensitive subject of child abuse, which isn't always easy to to do. The main character, Wolf, is growing up in a home with an abusive father and a fearful mother. He is navigating through this challenging journey the best way he possibly can. Even though his life at home isn't ideal, he finds joy in everyday life by focusing his energy on things that matter to him. He doesn't really get on with other children, but has a other-worldly best friend, a ‘ghost’ of a young girl, as well as many amazing friends from within the animal kingdom.

I found the book very touching and I love the way the author described every step of Wolf's journey in such a colourful and detailed way, as he is exploring the physical world and the realities beyond our comprehension.

The main character is a true warrior and it’s incredibly inspiring to follow his journey, as he is learning so many powerful lessons along the way and coming to so many personal realisations, while stepping into his power by making courageous choices.

I absolutely loved reading this book!!

Tajammul Kothari

I am so glad I came across this book and got an opportunity to read it.

“She Named Me Wolf “is a magnificent moral tale laden with emotional sentiments. Its story tugs at your heart as it showcases a journey of a child who goes through abuse and depression and how he gets solace by talking to a spirit.

I loved the way the author has handled a sensitive subject and have come out trumps in delivering the story. Especially appealing to me were the moral lessons that can be learnt from the book such as the importance of friendship, to triumph against all odds, to have faith in oneself and in the power of imagination.

The writing is flawless as the book is written in a very simple manner making the reader connect with the characters. The book is hard to put down and what amazed me most is the ending which I never expected.

I highly recommend this YA book and look forward to more in the series.

Joshua Grant

Tenkara Smart hits us with a beautiful look at a boy overcoming hardship with the power of imagination in She Named Me Wolf! After suffering abuse from his father, young Wolf searches for a better life with the help of his imaginary friends. This book is heart wrenching and tragic in parts, but it’s beautiful thanks to the uplifting journey Smart sets Wolf on! It’s a testament to perseverance and the power of the human spirit to endure anything. I loved Wolf’s imagination and was pleasantly reminded of the Life is Strange series. If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, come hang with some koalas and ghosts in She Named Me Wolf!

Author Chantal Bellehumeur

I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy reading this book at first, because although the story itself seemed interesting I thought the subject of child abuse would be hard to take. However, I am glad I decided to give it a try.
The author did a good job at providing just enough details for the reader to understand what the main character is going through from his early childhood to his teenage years without it being too graphic.
We know that Wolf gets beaten when his father is unhappy with him, and also gets forced into a box as a form of punishment. The abuse always happens when the father is drunk, and the author hints more and more throughout the story that the mother is also a victim of her husband's violent temper. Her way of helping her youngest son is to ask a neighbour to secretly give him karate lessons in order for him to one day defend himself.
I loved reading about Wolf's ongoing training and dedication, and even more so how Wolf became friends with a special ghost plus made friends with animals and insects, creating voices and personalities for each creature.
The author gave her main character a wild imagination and I loved reading about all the little adventures he went on.
The book had a perfect balance of happy and sad moments, with a satisfying ending. An unexpected little surprise awaits as well.
Overall, it was an enjoyable and entertaining read.

Bonnie Pongracz-Polselli

A book of lessons; life's dealt hand & overcoming trials that portray resilience, determination, moxy & grit!

Jess Frankel

A very solid novel, the first I've read from this author, and it won't be the last. A mix of Japanese and Australian culture, it's got less to do with mysticism and the supernatural--although those elements are there--and more to do with survival in the face of abuse.

What I liked about the book. it had a steady pace, never lingering too long in any one chapter. The dialogue was good, realistic, and even though some Aussie slang was mixed in with American slang, it didn't bother me. It was a little abrupt, but it didn't change my enjoyment of the novel.

The characters of Wolf and Polly were well-rounded. Overall, a most enjoyable read.

Recommended.

Author Claudia Piepenburg

What a fascinating, sometimes disturbing and ultimately heartwarming and redemptive story. Although I seldom read YA fiction, I was interested in how the author dealt with child abuse, both psychological and physical, in a way that wouldn't be so offensive as to turn the reader off.

Ms. Smart, in her debut, manages that balancing act quite deftly. I was quickly drawn into Wolf's story, the first page, which is the entirety of the first chapter, is a text book example of creating immediate conflict for the protagonist. In that first page/chapter I learned that Wolf has been beaten and forced inside a box and although there's much there that is painful to read, the last two sentences gave me hope, made me eager to turn the page because I knew that Wolf would, in the end, prevail.

The descriptions are often lyrical; I particularly loved Ms. Smart's depictions of nature, both animals and plants. The words she uses to describe Master Kelly's garden for instance, are quite evocative: "There were massive stones and boulders, wood-plant pathways, several short trees with green, leafy tops fanning out, and a lily pond filled with plump, orange fish." Although this is her first novel, Smart also knows how to write dialogue; it consistently rang true.

For those of you who like surprising, and uplifting endings...be prepared. Smart knocks it out of the proverbial park in the final two paragraphs. I'm looking forward to following Wolf on his journey through "...many lifetimes."

"She Named We Wolf" is a remarkable debut.

Carrie Barrie

It’s a magical story, that’s also very easy to believe and accept. It reads very smoothly and quickly, and I got very attached to the main character. It’s labeled as YA, but adults will enjoy it, and find it rewarding. It could almost be appropriate for middle grade (except for some language and a couple situations).

At the heart of the story, it’s about child abuse, and how people mold their lives around the abuser. Yes, it’s very frustrating to see how the people who observe the abuse deal with it, ignore it, make excuses for it, and try to accept it. But that is almost always the reality of abused children.

The depictions of abuse were sensitively written and not graphic or gratuitous. I was hooked from page one and read the whole thing in just a few hours. By the end, I really cared about Wolf and want to find out what happens to him, so I eagerly await the next book!

Author Alex Robins

Tenkara has created something very special here with her novel "She Named Me Wolf". It's quite unlike anything I have ever read, deftly mixing childhood angst, alcoholism, abuse, and even some supernatural elements.

The story follows Wolf over a period of roughly seven years as he navigates the trials and tribulations of early adolescence, making (and imagining) new friends, discovering new hobbies, and finding the inner strength to stand up to his father. I was especially struck as how well this fatherly figure was written : he is loving and caring in one scene (buying a repainting a bike, for example); uncaring and destructive in another.

The last few pages add an interesting twist that could lead to a very interesting sequel and I really hope Tenkara will explore this aspect in her future books!

**I received an review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily**

K. G. A. Alavi

Choices on the path

A very good but dark story. Shown main through the eyes of an abused child. There are a lot of emotions and feelings that need to be processed, also the imagination parts of the book need to be shown as escapism is a big part of how people deal with abuse. Also the effects on the rest of the family are shown by by how other members of the family deal with things.

This book covers the more spiritual side of martial arts. Strong spirits, and wisdom. The physical side, as much as I would have like Wolf to fight alto earlier in the book, I appicare the realism of Martial Arts taking years to learn to be effective, daily practice to home instincts as well as physically developing into the right physical frame. As a personal preference I would like to see more of the martial arts side coming up in the next books.

A part of the book that really rang a bell with me is defending yourself at school, but getting in trouble for it. I am sure everyone has a story like that. I can't wait to see where the next part of Wolf's past, present or future lives.

K.J. Simmill

a harrowing, dark, emotionally charged, and engaging story. I loved how this book combined the spiritual and physical worlds as the young boy, Wolf, seeks to find himself and escape the horrendous life he has been dealt. The tight cast of characters allow the reader to become more engaged with the story, and drives them deeper into Wolf's journey of self discovery. One thing I loved was how he took pleasure and found happiness in the smallest of things, despite everything else he was being made to endure, finding and holding onto that was amazing, as was watching his growth. This is certainly a book I'd like to read again at another point in the future, it's not afraid to touch on darkness, while also showing the light.

Brigitte Morse-Starkenburg

Dark but Beautiful Story

I really enjoyed reading about Wolf and his heart wrenching fight against the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father. There is a mixture of the supernatural and the young boy’s imagination which leaves you guessing what’s real and what isn’t. Some of it takes the story a little off track, but it lightens this very sad story and makes you really understand the inner confusion the boy suffered. He loves his dad when he’s sober, but even then never really trusts him, or even his mother, who also suffers but fails to protect Wolf.
I would have liked to have seen a bit more about the martial arts training he received from his Sensei, which ultimately is his saviour.
I feel this book is perfect for children and young teenagers, as it deals with hard hitting issues, but as it’s told through the eyes of a child, highly relatable and a good way to open debate and foster empathy.
I’m looking forward to reading more about Wolf and/or the other lives he’s lived!

McClelland

I wasn't sure what to expect from this read. But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
Even though this book deals with a lot of dark issues, it was still light enough inbetween the times to enjoy.
The way wolf survives in his world through his imagination is wonderfully written and described.
Would highly recommend this for those that like a balance with dark readings.
Read as part of a book club.

Elena S

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, funny, heartbreaking, depressing, and uplifting
Reviewed in the United States on June 14, 2021
This book is like nothing I've read before. It starts as a children's book with lots of supernatural and magical moments. Only that Wolf's life is not a fairy tale. His coping mechanism to abuse from his family brings to life a series of animals. The interactions between Wolf and his imaginary friends are hilarious and heartwarming. The writing style is gorgeous, and at times I has no idea what was going on in the story, but I felt compelled to read just for the beautiful flow and style of the story.
I loved how the author used Japanese culture and martial arts and made them part of the story. We all make choices, and there are no bad ones, just choices - I love this! Don't let the choices of others define you, and you are not responsible for others' choices.
The story gets very dark, and I admit I had to skim over some passages; they were painful to read. However, as much as I hate the father's abuse and the mother's passivity, I had to keep in mind that in the '70s, access to parenting, counseling, and the internet weren't available as today.
I look forward to the next book by Tenkara Smart.

MR S J MORSE

4.0 out of 5 stars Dark but Beautiful Story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 June 2021
Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading about Wolf and his heart wrenching fight against the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father. There is a mixture of the supernatural and the young boy’s imagination which leaves you guessing what’s real and what isn’t. Some of it takes the story a little off track, but it lightens this very sad story and makes you really understand the inner confusion the boy suffered. He loves his dad when he’s sober, but even then never really trusts him, or even his mother, who also suffers but fails to protect Wolf.
I would have liked to have seen a bit more about the martial arts training he received from his Sensei, which ultimately is his saviour.
I feel this book is perfect for children and young teenagers, as it deals with hard hitting issues, but as it’s told through the eyes of a child, highly relatable and a good way to open debate and foster empathy.
I’m looking forward to reading more about Wolf and/or the other lives he’s lived!
I read this as part of a book club.

Amy Johnson

4.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreakingly Beautiful
Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2021
Verified Purchase
Smart's writing is simply gorgeous. There was never a moment went I felt detached from the story. I was right beside Wolf as he went on innumerable adventures with Polly and the crew. We went on a trip to visit native americans, fought a shark in the bathtub, went to a pool party with ants, traveled to ancient Japan to watch a samurai... I could go on for ages. The nostalgia that came with reading this touching third-person narration was breathtaking. I was absolutely enraptured.

The characters themselves are so beautifully written as well. They each have their faults, and even when it's frustrating, they even have redeeming qualities. As you can tell from the synopsis above, the obvious antagonist is Wolf's father. The reader is meant to dislike him instantly. Hate him, almost. I found myself growing more and more frustrated with Smart for trying to give this horrible man a good side. I understood the purpose, but I didn't want to understand or like him. (PS: It didn't work. I hated him even more as the story went.) You feel for the individuals, though. I almost cried for Wolf, I wanted to scream at his mother, and I could have honestly throttled his father. Then, I thanked his neighbors, his sensei, Polly... I could go on for ages.

Yet, I had to bump the story down one star, and I'll tell you why. I never recovered from an incident that occurs around 80% mark. It was almost too dark to handle, and it was extremely sudden, unexpected, and, well, a bit triggering. It knocked me sideways so hard that I found it hard to keep going. I wanted the ending to bring back the magic, but I was just too depressed from what Wolf did that I couldn't really enjoy it as much as I liked. I guess that's part of the point (which is why I didn't bump this down to a three). The story is supposed to be dark, I know that. Such is the reality of the lives that some children in the world lead. No one wants to see that bleak nature. It's real, though. God, it's so real.

I honestly don't have a valid solution for this issue. A trigger warning would have ruined the surprise and shock that I felt when the scene came, but at the same time, I needed it. *sigh* Anywho, it's a 4 star for me. I really, really enjoyed it up until that point. Very well done.

Amazon Customer

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, what an experience.
Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2021
Verified Purchase
I read this novel through an amazon readers club, and boy am I glad I did. It's been a rollercoaster experience for me, traveling through the whimsy of childhood imagination and the emotional turmoil of an abusive home life.

It reads quite a bit like that excellent movie Big Fish, where we regularly delve into imaginative scenes of fantasy as if they were real. Then it comes crashing back in for emotional grounding when the abuse comes into play. The book has a hell of an amazing sense of pacing as well, as the experience of growing up comes across on the page effectively. This was a very interesting read, and the author is one to watch.

James Huck

This is a well written book that creates a haunting tale of the circle of life. Wolf is an endearing and imaginative child living in a neglectful and abusive family in Australia at what feels like the end of the twentieth century.

The book follows his rites of passage from childhood into young adulthood as we discover that he is an old soul that has lived many lives. The author creates the child's world warmly with many familiar adventures into the world of imagination that those of us that have been lucky enough to have access to wild places without too many toys or technological gadgets that get in the way of childhood fun.

That is not to say that this is a warm and fuzzy tale. The dark world of thwarted hopes and dreams that turn into adult anger, frustration and violence that often replaces childhood innocence is clearly and vividly written that leaves you in no doubt of the suffering that human beings can inflict on each - especially those that are supposed to be protected, cared for and loved.

H.G. Ahedi

Everyone makes their own choice

This story touches a lot of truth and takes you on a journey on how ur choices define your life.
Wolf is a lovely boy who has special friends. He can speak with dogs, birds, ants and most of all Polly - a ghost.

Wolf is mistreated and beaten by his father. Unfortunately, there is no one to help him. While his elder brother is a useless and his mother spends most of her life hoping that his father would improve.
As he grows Wolf becomes weary - thinks of running away and even at a point decides to end it all.

The story is emotional, it will make you cry, and at the same time spring your imagination. But it tells you ultimately its your choice. If you are in a bad situation ... It's up to you to remove yourself, fight back and make a change. You can either be the victim or you can take charge. It reminds you a bully/abusive/manipulative person will not change... It is you who must.

The author beautifully outlines several imaginative elements with larger than life characters. I highly recommend this one.

Andrew Casey HSB

Never have I ever cried so much reading a book. Not only is this worth 5 stars but it is worth so much more. On a spiritual level it is extremely challenging to subject matter while being in perspective of a character growing up. Anyone struggling with too much pain being pushed to suicide should read this book. Fiction that surprises us is a great resource for healing and in many cases more than non-fiction.

Ian Conrey

This book was wonderful! In following the daily life of Wolf, who endures abuse from his father but receives continual support from a ghost named Polly, Master Kelly (his martial-arts instructor), and a whole cast of critters around his yard (who sometimes also get him into trouble), Tenkara has created a phenomenal coming of age story filled with imagination and a healthy dose of spiritualism and inner-strength.

From the very beginning I was drawn into her story and there are few things that I think are worth noting. First, she developed her characters beautifully and I felt like I really got to know them. Wolf was such a likable and complex character that I instantly fell in love with him and I am eager to read more about him in later books. Likewise, his parents, Polly, and even Aaron (the ant) and Korey (the Koala) were so interesting and full of personality that I always enjoyed when they entered the story. Second, I don't want to give any spoilers so I won't say too much, but the plot itself was very well paced and engaging. The relationship between Wolf and his family unfolded naturally and in a way that felt very real. Third, this is not simply a book for entertainment purposes. It is entertaining, but it also wrestles with some serious issues. Specifically, Tenkara deals with abuse in an honest and blunt way. Although it might be triggering for some, I found it to be very worthwhile. There were one or two parts that were hard for me to get through, but in a good way. She exposed the reality that so many children face from abusive and broken adults, and yet she always made sure to show the humanity in all of them. A prominent theme in her book was on choices that we make, and I found it to be very effective in the plot and edifying for myself. There were moments I set the book down and just wanted to love on my children because I knew that Wolf's life was not merely fiction. As a parent, I have choices to make, and I wanted to make the ones that showed my children I loved them. It's rare that a fiction book has the kind of impact on me that it influences some of the decisions of my daily life.

In short, although it may be triggering for some, this is well worth the read. I am very excited to read her future works! *5 Stars*

Trae Stratton

Seamlessly slipping between dark and imaginative She Named Me Wolf describes one boy’s perilous journey to survive physical abuse at the hands of his alcoholic father. A word of warning to here- This may not be for everyone for though they are not excessive or gratuitous, the scenes detailing abuse are the stuff of nightmares. However, growing up with Wolf as he learns first to utilize his imagination to cope with his situation (Reminiscent of Sucker Punch), and second to embrace the long game of daily martial arts training in the hopes that one day he can stand up to his father, are much brighter moments detailed with the nostalgic warmth of childhood fantasy.

The author’s deft handling of the difficult topic, and the authenticity scripted into the interchanging scenes featuring Japan, Native American culture, martial arts training and the characteristics/tendencies of numerous animals to bring them all to life are outstanding.

As a reader, I come away from this novel charmed above the pain, because I still remain uncertain as to what may have been real or imagined. His ghostly best friend certainly seems real enough, so perhaps Wolf can also really can talk to animals. Or perhaps all of it is in his head as in A Beautiful Mind. I know how I feel, and maybe you will glean what others think from their reviews, but I highly recommending reading this one to decide for yourself.

Isabella Steel (Author)

5.0 out of 5 stars Such a Sweet Story
Reviewed in the United States on November 14, 2021
She Named Me Wolf by Tenkara Smart
Review by Isabella Steel Five Stars
Tenkara Smart deals with the heartbreaking subject of child abuse at the hands of an alcoholic parent amazingly. How “Wolf” deals with it is equally amazing. Reincarnation and ghosts as a coping mechanism is BRILLIANT. With the subject, one might expect a constant barrage of sadness, but Smart perfected the balance. Both Wolf and Polly are totally endearing. The writing is simple, reflecting the child’s point of view. A few things keep the readers guessing. Try as she might to save him, Smart makes the father figure completely unredeemable and quite easy to hate. She does an excellent job of tackling a terrible subject without depressing the reader. You will root for Wolf and his ‘friends’ in all their forms.
Five Stars. Isabella Steel

Violet Perry Just A Bookish Blog

This was a sad, but eye opening book, and it was very well done.
She Named Me Wolf is about a young boy with an amazing imagination and an abusive, alcoholic father, and how he grows up.
Wolf’s imagination basically creates a whole new world for him, and it becomes his coping mechanism as well as an alternate reality. His best friend, Polly, is a ghost, and the most prominent things in his imagination. She’s his laugh on a sad day, refuge in the storm.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this book is that it addresses the issue of abuse (as well as depression, bullying, etc.), yet it’s appropriate for a wide age range. Everything is approached in a very sensitive way without taking away any of the seriousness out of it.
So, all in all, Smart did a wonderful job with this one, I loved it, and it’s definitely a must read!

Dr. Toula Gordillo/Author

She Named Me Wolf is a synchronistic blend of mystic themes combined with raw and real emotion. Once I took the time to become fully immersed in this coming-of-age story, I couldn't put it down. I read it over an entire weekend.

As a clinical and Jungian psychologist, as well as a fellow creative writer of fantastic/magical realism young adult prose, I see many of Jung's themes in Tenkara's poignant novel.

In an illustration of Jungian choice and consequence, the importance of a connection to nature and the duality of the physical and metaphysical experience, Tenkara's leading character, a boy named Wolf, can speak with animals. He was also a Samurai warrior in a past life and a natural-born karate champion in this one. If that's not an interesting enough plot, Wolf also has a friend...a helpful and supportive ghost named Polly. She encourages him to make positive choices when his mother and brother, sadly, fail to help him to cope with an utterly unpredictable alcoholic father.

What does it mean to live in a tumultuous family? Through exploring the 'lived' experience of Tenkara's well-developed characters, the reader can answer this question for themselves. With much material to consider, this moving story will make you laugh as well as cry. Beautifully written, I would highly recommend a read. You will be glad you did.

Amy Maki

This was not what I expected. I was intrigued, but I still am left feeling incomplete. Very imaginative!

Terence

This is not a book that I would normally have chosen. I do not normally read fantasy, or young adult, and this was my assessment, rightly or wrongly, after reading quite a few reviews of Tenkara's book. Nonetheless, I still wanted to read her book.

Actual 'reading' is not easy for me, which is why most of my library consists of audiobooks. However, by buying it direct from Amazon and having it sent to my iPad Pro, I was able to read this Kindle book in an enlarged format and I enjoyed it so much, I finished it in two sittings!

I am not going to attempt a 'review' of "Wolf, #1", but I want GR readers to know that this is a sensitively written, enchanting story about the growing-up of a young boy, badly mistreated and abused by his alcoholic father, with little intervention by his mother, herself a victim of her husband's abuse, and ignored by an older brother who doesn't suffer any of these hardships.

This is not a story of child abuse per se, but much more a heart-warming story of how a very young boy copes with the distress and misery he experiences at the hands of his father. I really liked this book!

Michele

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!!!!
Reviewed in the United States on May 14, 2022
Verified Purchase on Amazon.Com
I absolutely love this book and I absolutely love this author!!