Book Club Pick: Lone Wolf

“The night after I went into the wolf enclosure for the first time I woke up to find my father sitting on the edge of my bed, watching me. His face was outlined with moonlight. ‘When I was in the wild, I was chased by a bear. I was sure I was going to die. I didn’t think there could be anything more terrifying,’ he said. ‘I was wrong.’ He reached out one hand and tucked my hair behind my ear. ‘The scariest thing in the world is thinking that someone you love is going to die.'” – Jodi Picoult’s Lone Wolf

I completely understand why so many of Jodi Picoult’s fans–myself included–refer to themselves as members of the “Jodi Pi-cult.” Lone Wolf, Picoult’s latest best-selling work now available as a beautiful paperback, is an unassumingly brilliant exploration of a family-in-crisis suddenly faced with an impossible question: if someone you love has been gravely injured with essentially no chance of recovery, do you artificially prolong their life or artificially induce their death? It should be no surprise to anyone familiar with Picoult’s impressive body of work that she handles such a complex issue with grace, humour and compassion, but what did surprise me was how exactly she did so. In Lone Wolf, Picoult explores a new family dymanic: that of wolf packs, and (pardon the pun) it makes for a howling good read.

Luke Warren has spent his life researching wolves. He has written about them, studied their habits intensively, and even lived with them for extended periods of time. In many ways, Luke understands wolf dynamics better than those of his own family. His wife, Georgie, has left him, finally giving up on their lonely marriage. His son, Edward, twenty-four, fled six years ago, leaving behind a shattered relationship with his father. Edward understands that some things cannot be fixed, though memories of his domineering father still inflict pain. Then comes a frantic phone call: Luke has been gravely injured in a car accident with Edward’s younger sister, Cara.

Suddenly everything changes: Edward must return home to face the father he walked out on at age eighteen. He and Cara have to decide their father’s fate together. Though there’s no easy answer, questions abound: What secrets have Edward and his sister kept from each other? What hidden motives inform their need to let their father die . . . or to try to keep him alive? What would Luke himself want? How can any family member make such a decision in the face of guilt, pain, or both? And most importantly, to what extent have they all forgotten what a wolf never forgets: that each member of a pack needs the others, and that sometimes survival means sacrifice?

What I admire and respect the most about Picoult’s writing is her ability to take challenging moral issues and frame them within an addictive, page-turning story. I personally don’t think she’s ever done this better than she has with Lone Wolf: each chapter is narrated by a different character, making the story as rich and dynamic as the wolves that remain at its heart. There’s so much to talk about in Lone Wolf, and as such Simon & Schuster has prepared a handy Reader’s Group Guide to help get discussion rolling. I have some questions of my own as well, please feel free to use them within your own book club or to leave an answer in the comment section below!

  • What did you think of Picoult’s use of different narrators? Are there any chapters that you think would be interested in reading from a different point of view? How well do you think the font choices reflected the characters’ voices?
  • What would you do in Edward’s situation? Cara’s?
  • Do you feel any different about wolves having read this book?
  • What do you think lay at the heart of the Warren family’s problems? Is there any relation to the roles found in wolf packs?

Happy reading everyone!

Read an excerpt.
Explore Jodi’s website.
Read about the fascinating research Jodi did on wolves and the real life Luke Warren.
Last but not least: win up to ten copies of Lone Wolf for your book club!

Meet Jodi Picoult in person!

Are you a Jodi Picoult fan? Then you’ll be excited about this contest!

To celebrate the release of Jodi’s new novel Lone Wolf we’re giving you the chance to get up close and personal with the author herself.

You could win:
1 of 2 GRAND PRIZES (for GTA residents only)
• Two tickets to the Jodi Picoult event on March 13th
• A pre-event meet and greet for you and a friend 
• A complete Jodi Picoult library of books including her newest novel Lone Wolf 

Don’t live in the GTA? Don’t worry! You’re still eligible to win 1 of 3 nationwide prize packs:
• A complete Jodi Picoult library of books
• A signed copy of her newest novel Lone Wolf

CLICK HERE TO ENTER. Contest closes February 29th

Meet Jodi Picoult
Date: Tuesday, March 13th 
Location:The Church of the Redeemer, 162 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON
Time: 7:00pm
For more info and to purchase tickets click here. Tickets are only $5.00!

Here’s a little bit about Lone Wolf

In the wild, when a wolf knows its time is over, when it knows it is of no more use to its pack, it may sometimes choose to slip away. Dying apart from its family, it stays proud and true to its nature. Humans aren’t so lucky.

Luke Warren has spent his life researching wolves. He has written about them, studied their habits intensively, and even lived with them for extended periods of time. In many ways, Luke understands wolf dynamics better than those of his own family. His wife, Georgie, has left him, finally giving up on their lonely marriage. His son, Edward, twenty-four, fled six years ago, leaving behind a shattered relationship with his father. Edward understands that some things cannot be fixed, though memories of his domineering father still inflict pain. Then comes a frantic phone call: Luke has been gravely injured in a car accident with Edward’s younger sister, Cara.

Suddenly everything changes: Edward must return home to face the father he walked out on at age eighteen. He and Cara have to decide their father’s fate together. Though there’s no easy answer, questions abound: What secrets have Edward and his sister kept from each other? What hidden motives inform their need to let their father die . . . or to try to keep him alive? What would Luke himself want? How can any family member make such a decision in the face of guilt, pain, or both? And most importantly, to what extent have they all forgotten what a wolf never forgets: that each member of a pack needs the others, and that sometimes survival means sacrifice?

Another tour de force by Picoult, Lone Wolf brilliantly describes the nature of a family: the love, protection, and strength it can offer—and the price we might have to pay for those gifts. What happens when the hope that should sustain a family is the very thing tearing it apart?

Get a sneak peek at the recording of the audio book

Read an excerpt

Visit Jodi’s website

Get the reading group guide

Win Jodi Picoult’s ENTIRE Collection!

Like most people, I was drawn to Jodi Picoult after seeing the trailer for My Sister’s Keeper.  When a certain buzz ascends around a book, I get this twitching feeling, guiding me towards the bookstore.  I always need to judge things for myself and of course, abide by rule number one: always read the book before seeing the movie.

Oddly enough, I never saw the movie.  But I did read plenty of Jodi’s books after that.  I also got my mom hooked, which means we collectively own the majority of her novels.  My favourite will always be Change of Heart, the story of a man on death row who begins performing a certain known set of miracles within his jail cell.  I specifically remember reading it on the dock at my uncles cottage, watching days slip past without me noticing.  Jodi is one addictive writer.  Her research is impeccable and her characters will seem more real than some of your friends.  She holds a personal space in my book-loving heart.

Now – after all that rambling – here’s what’s in it for you!  Jodi’s most recent book, Sing You Home is coming out in paperback and although this book is great, so are all her others.  So we thought it might be more fun, instead of offering a sweepstakes for the new book, we will offer a sweepstakes for all of the books!  Click on the image below and enter to win the complete collection of Jodi’s books!  This is one heck of a sweepstakes if you’re a Jodi fan, and even if you’re not, every woman on your Christmas list this year will love you.

Good luck!

Adult fiction writers go YA!

Being an adult, I always have the odd person give me the stink-eye when I mention how much I love YA.  However, more often than not, I get the elated smile from whomever I have told and hear “me too!”  Truth is, for anyone twenty and up, YA is the answer to their teenage dreams – just a little too late.  When I was in my teens, I never recall there being a whole lot of choice with fiction for younger readers.  Once you got passed The Giver and the earlier Harry Potter books, there wasn’t much else.  By the time I was fourteen, I was finding myself cute little chicklit books (or anything to do with magic) in the adult section.

Now, YA has become a universe in itself.  Paranormal YA has emerged in stunning proportions and realistic fiction continues to help guide teens through their tough teenage years.  As a publishing house, we are so thankful to have an assortment of talented writers in all different sub-genres of YA and have a list of some of the most powerful YA fiction on the shelves.

The rising popularity of YA has breached the walls of fiction and is now beginning to attract more than just teen and adult readers – it is also attracting adult fiction writers.  Richard Paul Evan’s YA novel Michael Vey: Prisoner of Cell 25 came out in August of this year and in the coming months, Philippa Gregory, Jodi Picoult and Kathy Reichs (though not for the first time) will all be releasing YA novels!  Writers are constantly looking for a new challenge – something to dive into that is both new and exciting – and right now, YA is it!  Whether it is because you can suspend your disbelief and allow yourself to fall into a magical world, or be transported back to those years when you felt awkward and excited about everything, adults are turning back to YA.

Philippa plans to write historical romances about young lovers, Jodi collaborates with her daughter to write a modern fairytale, and Kathy follows up Virals with a new book in the series called Seizure.  Keep your eyes peeled to those shelves for these novels coming up next year!
 Check out the inspiration for this post in USA Today: