Summer of the Wolves - Lisa Williams Kline
I won this in a First Reads Giveaway.

This book was cute, sweet, touching and flows nicely. It was an okay read which I finished in one sitting. The characters and stories were well enough done. There was definitely some character progression in here. I think middle schoolers will love this book more than I did. I think it's okay but for me, it was missing something to really like it and get into. I think it's just because I'm older. I usually go for the more hard hitting young adult books for older teenagers instead of fluffy books for kids this young. I hate the way we don't know what happened with the second wolf at the end. I really hope that the girls keep in touch and find out what happened in the next book. I also really hope there's more information about Diana's mood disorder in the next one as well since the treatment of that and Diana because of it, bothered me.

One aspect of the book I really liked was the information on animals, nature and Cherokee heritage. I thought that was great. I liked how it was really strong on the issues of wolf-dog breeds and how really they shouldn't be kept like that. There's a lot of scams out there selling half-breeds and lies. I know someone who has taken in half-breeds as rescues being in the wilderness, with the space, time and knowledge to care for them properly. It's a huge undertaking and they really aren't like dogs. I wish there was a bit more about the Cherokees since the setting was in their region and how much misinformation is out there regarding Native Americans. This book could really get kids thinking and interested in such things. I think it would have helped to put some links or information for kids to look into after reading. Just put a warning for the kids to go online with their parents to do it.

The whole conflict about the family not getting along makes me wonder what the family did before this vacation. The only thing mentioned was the one weekend Stephanie came over while Diana stayed in her room. Seems rather short sighted and stupid to not work on this before even getting married. The girls never even met before or something? Seems like the parents were thinking more of being together than making a family work. I'd be upset too if this was just sprung on me. Do parents really not understand this? It's also tired trope about going on family vacation making it all better. It works here but it's not really new or exciting. Honestly, though, those issues are probably beyond any middle schoolers concerns.

Diana's mood disorder. I'm really not sure how to feel about this. We don't even know what specific disorder is being talked about here. Diana is old enough to know herself, why is it not mentioned? Without that information it comes off as a gimmick to explain Diana's emotional problems but really it hardly seems like a problem at all. When Diana forgot to take her medication the side effects where dizziness and such from not taking the pill and being up all day. I can't really pin point where Diana was shown to really have a problem. She seemed fine. Her emotions and actions seemed perfectly normal and expected considering the circumstances. Without something concrete or a specific name to her disorder, it feels like the book is saying any kid that acts like Diana needs medication and is "off balance". Like the default for girls should be acting like Stephanie. That bothers me. I also question about Diana's therapy. Doesn't seem like much is getting talked about and it really just seems like Diana needs someone to talk to. It's not like her mom tried to understand, just blamed Diana's behavior on the disorder instead of wondering why she was acting this way. I don't know why Lynn would go the extra mile for Stephanie but didn't even try to talk to Diana. Hopefully, in the next book this is expanded on and explained.

As far as it being Christian fiction, the only mentions of God were Stephanie talking about her bible study group and the rare spontaneous “Oh god” prayer from Diana. I'm not sure how this gets classified as Christian fiction. All mentions of God could have been removed and you wouldn't have been able to tell. In America the majority of people are Christian. It's the dominate religion so that most people automatically assume you believe one version or the other. This leads to a lot of Christian characters. If you're only criteria is having a Christian character, then sure this qualifies. The other themes and morals are basic love your family, try to do the right, fix what you get wrong and get along with people and it's not like that's unique to Christianity. Christianity isn't necessary for those at all. On this site the only way to see it's labeled as Christian fiction is to click on the 'more shelves' used by users link on the side bar.