She Named Me Wolf


Young Adult - Coming of Age
338 Pages
Reviewed on 01/17/2021
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    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.