Michael F. Stewart
Publication date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
The Breakfast Club meets Grimm’s Fairy Tales in the lair of an adolescent psych ward.
Milly’s evil stepmother commits her to a pediatric psych ward. That’s just what the wolf wants. With bunk mates like Red, who’s spiraling out of control; Pig, a fire-bug who claims Milly as her own—but just wants extra dessert—Vanet, a manic teen masquerading as a fairy godmother with wish-granting powers as likely to kill as to help; and the mysterious Wolfgang, rumored to roam for blood at night; it doesn’t take long for Milly to realize that only her dead mother’s book of tales can save her.
But Milly’s spells of protection weaken as her wolf stalks the hospital corridors. The ward’s a Dark Wood, and she’s not alone. As her power crumbles, she must let go of her magic and discover new weapons if she is to transform from hunted to hunter.
Michael F. Stewart is winner of both the 2015 Claymore Award and the 2014 inaugural Creation of Stories Award for best YA novel at the Toronto International Book Fair.
He likes to combine storytelling with technology and pioneered interactive storytelling with Scholastic Canada, Australia, and New Zealand’s, anti-cyberbullying program Bully For You. In addition to his award winning Assured Destruction series, he has authored four graphic novels with Oxford University Press Canada’s Boldprint series. Publications of nonfiction titles on Corruption and Children’s Rights are published by Scholastic and early readers are out with Pearson Education.
For adults, Michael has written THE SAND DRAGON a horror about a revenant prehistoric vampire set in the tar sands, HURAKAN a Mayan themed thriller which pits the Maya against the MS-13 with a New York family stuck in the middle, 24 BONES an urban fantasy which draws from Egyptian myth, and THE TERMINALS–a covert government unit which solves crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next.
Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s first Writer in Residence. To learn more about Michael and his next projects visit his website at www.michaelfstewart.com or connect via Twitter @MichaelFStewart.
Michael is represented by Talcott Notch.
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ARC of Counting Wolves provided through Xpresso Book Tours for an honest review.
Counting Wolves was such an amazing surprise! When I first started reading this book I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but I did not expect the awesomeness that unfolded page after page!
In the synopsis, it does not say why Milly is in the psych ward so unfortunately, I can’t dive into that part of her character. But let me just say that it’s really good. What I can say is that Milly is an awesome lead character. For someone with so many issues, she has a unique strength to her. Sure she feels as if her quirks are some what embarrassing but she also has an “I don’t care” attitude towards it, well sometimes. I loved her thought process and how she looked at the world around her. Even if her depiction of it wasn’t always accurate it was still awfully entertaining.
As for the other kids in the psych ward, well there really is something to be said about having an awesomely quirky cast of characters. They really helped to make this book something special, each and every one of them. With even one of them missing from this book, it would not be what it is.
Two of the things that made this book such a work of brilliance was the fairy tale references and the look into mental illness in teenagers.
The fairy tales are such a strong aspect of this book. If the fairy tales aren’t being out right mentioned then they are being squeezed in here and there. Heck, even a good portion of the characters were a subtle nod to different fairy tales. This book even included other less known tales which was really interesting. As a fan of those classics, it really made Counting Wolves extra fun to read.
The look into mental illness in teenagers was wonderful. In some cases, it felt like there wasn’t really an illness so much as a scared child trying to find a safe place. With those with an actual illness, it was interesting to get their point of view on something they considered normal while also getting the outsiders look from either Milly, other patients, or the hospital staff. Having so many different points of views on the subject raises a lot of questions as a reader.
How far gone was too far gone? Could the patient actually control it? How much was part of their illness and how much was over exaggerated? Should they learn to accept it or change it? With all these different questions I developed reading this book, I felt like I was getting answers in one way or another. Or at least I was getting Milly’s answers, which worked for me, at least in reference to the characters around her.
Honestly, I could go on and on about little bits and pieces of this book that caught my attention. Everything from what I’ve already mentioned, to the different family dynamics, to how health care actually takes care of those in need, to the humor that actually had me laughing out load. Counting Wolves has so many different layers and keeps the reader entertained all the way through. You would be CRAZY(hint, hint) not to read this one!