Review of Gone Wolf

Gone Wolf Gone Wolf
by Amber McBride
Middle School    Feiwel    352 pp.
10/23    9781250850492    $17.99
e-book ed.  9781250850485    $10.99

McBride (We Are All So Good at Smiling, rev. 1/23) begins this compelling novel in the year 2111: a girl known as Inmate Eleven has lived in a small cell her whole life. All she knows she’s learned from Miss Abby, a pale-skinned “Clone” who describes blue-skinned people as “genetic mistakes, which is why we take care of you here.” Inmate Eleven’s only true companion is her dog, Ira, who will occasionally “go wolf,” pacing the cell, looking desperately as if he wishes to be somewhere else. When she finally learns the disturbing truth—that Blues are Black Americans, turned blue from generational trauma; and Clones are white Elitists from the “Bible Boot” of the South—she must escape to save herself. Meanwhile, in the year 2022, young Imogen is struggling with both the racially motivated violence across the country and the catastrophic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. When Imogen and her mother finally find a therapist willing to listen to her whole story, the juxtaposition of past, present, and future creates a jarring narrative. Interspersed throughout are Bible Boot Learning Flash Cards propaganda and asides at the end of Inmate Eleven’s chapters touting the virtue of Clones over the “lesser” Blues. A strong voice in the sci-fi genre, McBride presents a fascinating discussion of the inextricable bond between Black Americans and the blues.

From the November/December 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Eboni Njoku
Eboni Njoku is a children’s librarian at the Anacostia Neighborhood Library Branch of the DC Public Library.

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