Award-winning author Amber McBride lays bare the fears of being young and Black in America, in this middle-grade novel that has been compared to the work of Jordan Peele and praised as "brilliantly inventive storytelling" by Publishers Weekly.
In the future, a Black girl known only as Inmate Eleven is kept confined -- to be used as a biological match for the president's son, should he fall ill. She is called a Blue -- the color of sadness. She lives in a small-small room with her dog, who is going wolf more often – he’s pacing and imagining he’s free. Inmate Eleven wants to go wolf too—she wants to know why she feels so Blue and what is beyond her small-small room.
In the present, Imogen lives outside of Washington DC. The pandemic has distanced her from everyone but her mother and her therapist. Imogen has intense phobias and nightmares of confinement. Her two older brothers used to help her, but now she’s on her own, until a college student helps her see the difference between being Blue and sad, and Black and empowered.
In this symphony of a novel, award-winning author Amber McBride lays bare the fears of being young and Black in America, and empowers readers to remember their voices and stories are important, especially when they feel the need to go wolf.
Praise for Gone Wolf
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2023
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2023
"An especially timely read at a moment when Black history is being systematically erased in certain parts of our country."--New York Times Book Review
"The searing social analysis of Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" meets the suffocating terror of "Room" in this dystopian thriller from National Book Award finalist McBride."--Star Tribune
"Gone Wolf examines the ways in which both the COVID-19 pandemic and slavery’s ongoing legacy impact Black youth while also celebrating storytelling’s ability to heal and bring us together. There is nothing quite like it."--BookPage, starred review
"This profound middle grade debut by McBride, set in 2111 and 2022, follows two Black tweens navigating grief and racism. In 2111, in the Bible Boot, pale-skinned Clones are the ruling class while Black children called Blues are kept separate from society. A Blue girl called Inmate Eleven lives under confinement with her genetically modified dog Ira, whose tendency to “go wolf” inspires her to imagine a world elsewhere. As Inmate Eleven learns more about the systemic racism against Blues in the Bible Boot, she discovers that everything she’s learned about the world under Clone leadership has been a lie, and longs for escape. Meanwhile, in 2022 America, 12-year-old Imogen grapples with the long-term effects of an unnamed virus that has ravaged the nation while working through an unspecified traumatic event in therapy. McBride skillfully weaves each girl’s experience into the other’s via callbacks. In this weighty read, which explores the consequences of loss, quarantine, and racism on Black youth, the author employs brilliantly inventive storytelling as a tool through which the protagonists process their grief and find their people. An author’s note details historical events addressed in the book.--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"National Book Award finalist McBride...is a master at crafting characters that are unapologetically flawed, a pattern that continues in this, her middle-grade debut. Imogen’s character perfectly personifies the continuous shroud of grief that Black Americans have to live with in a post-pandemic, post-2016 election world. But even with the integration of the theme of grief throughout the novel, there is still the insistence of hope. McBride examines the beauty in Black resilience and the importance of building community. This novel is an integral addition to the children’s literary canon."--Booklist, starred review
"A strong voice in the sci-fi genre, McBride presents a fascinating discussion of the inextricable bond between Black (Americans) and the blues."--The Horn Book Magazine, starred review
"McBride’s multidimensional genius shines through, artfully exposing the reality that Black Americans have lived lifetimes of dystopias. She scrupulously guides the complicated storyline and hard histories with context, definitions, and word choices. Raw, incisive, and authentic."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"...will feel entirely relatable to kids who have just endured enough hardship to perhaps feel like they are in their own dystopia." -- BCCB
"McBride has created a fully realized work of science fiction that ends too soon, a novel that falls between the dystopian worldbuilding of The City of Ember and the impressively frightening mind of Jordan Peele."--Shelf Awareness