Allen & Unwin

August 2006

$17.95 AU

214p pb

ISBN: 978-1741146561

US edition: The Wolf

Front Street

March 2007

$17.95 US

238p hc

ISBN: 978-1932425758

Lonesome Howl / The Wolf

Steven Herrick

from the book...

No one can tell you what's true;

you have to find out for yourself


Jake's dad saw the wolf, before Jake was born. They say wolves don't live in this country, yet in the night Jake hears it howling, long and lonely.


When Jake and Lucy hike to Sheldon Mountain in search of the wolf, Jake is out to prove his dad right or wrong; Lucy is escaping her father's cruelty. Both are tested - physically, emotionally, spiritually - but what they find on that dangerous, dark mountain surprises them both.


Lonesome Howl/The Wolf is taut and tender; a gripping blend of physical adventure, family drama, love story and journey of self-discovery.

If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A

Being an avid fan of the verse novel format and of Steven Herrick I was pleased to receive Lonesome Howl (title is The Wolf in the US) for review. Like his other YA novels in verse this one is a realistic novel featuring two protagonists told in alternating voices. This device is effective as it gives alternate perspectives and a greater insight into the characters of Jake and Lucy. The novel introduces us to each character with a separate chapter on each until chapter three when they combine. Told in sparse prose with an economical use of words this book can not but move the reader. It will also satisfy those who like a happy resolution, which is not always evident in this genre.

The story is basically about 16 year old, Lucy who lives in a very unpleasant home environment of physical and verbal abuse. She is a Harding, living on a farm with her weakened, beaten mother, her violent and often drunk father and her younger, na´ve brother. Lucy has learned to survive by keeping quiet, keeping to herself and keeping out of her father’s way…but this is hard to do when her father blames all problems on Lucy.

The other character, Jake, 15 years old living near Wolli Creek with his well to do parents. Interweaved in this is the story/legend of a wolf living in the region. The lives of Jake and Lucy come together and the two hike to Sheldon Mountains in the guise of searching for the wolf. This trip tests them both and leads to self-discovery and a deeper understanding of their lives. Highly recommended!

Stephen, Canberra, Australia

Lonesome Wolf, by Australian author Steven Herrick, is a verse novel. The story follows two teenagers from disagreeable families whose farms are separated by a river. The boy enjoys a nice family with caring parents, and the girl endures psychical and emotional abuse. But together, they find something amazing.

To be honest, I was anxious when I started reading this book. In the beginning, Herrick drew obvious and typical parallels between the two protagonists’ father in a rather inelegant way. He explored his typical themes – coming of age; teenager-dom; love – and followed plot lines that you can bring to their typical conclusion in your head from the beginning.

Towards the end, however, I was once again enthralled by Herrick’s style. His techniques to create a mood are very profound; the love in the novel is elegant and cute; the sense of adventure plays with the emotions and dreams of the hormones raging in any teenager. Having said all that, I can’t help but restate that Herrick is himself restating his previous books in a lot of way, exploring no new ideas, but at the same time, he does it well.

This book is definitely worth a read, and would probably be enjoyed by any young adults or fans of the verse novel style.

Joel, Year 10, Canberra, Australia

I came across the realistic novel Lonesome Howl when I had to choose from a selection of books for homework. Steven Herrick’s book caught my eye out of the vast selection of verse novels. The book is set in Australia and is written from two sixteen year olds’ points of view, Lucy and Jake. At first the book does not link the two protagonists, but towards the centre of the story it is clear that they are in fact neighbours.

The two main characters have grown up in very different circumstances. Lucy has grown up in a harsh and violent lifestyle, whereas Jake has grown up in an easy going, positive family environment. Their two family’s don’t get along and both Lucy’s and Jake’s dad have different versions of a story about a wolf or wild dog. The two set out to find this ‘wolf’ and prove or disprove their stubborn minded father’s beliefs. What do they find? Is it the wolf, something else, or possibly something within?

This fantastic novel really touches on many emotional hurdles through Lucy’s life and how stories change, shape and take on a life of their own. This book also has a snippet of romance in it. I definitely recommend this book to others as I really enjoyed it.

Jake, age 13, Canberra, Australia

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