The End of the Wild
The End of the Wild
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Annotation: Eleven-year-old Fern helps to take care of her impoverished family by foraging for food in the forest, but when a fracking company rolls into town, she realizes that her peaceful woods and her family's livelihood could be threatened.
Catalog Number: #6142747
Format: Paperback
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 266 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-316-24513-5
ISBN 13: 978-0-316-24513-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016031990
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
Eleven-year-old Fern lives with her brothers and her out-of-work stepfather in a ramshackle house in rural Michigan. She takes pride in supporting her family by foraging for food, but a fracking operation threatens her beloved woods. The plot is uninventive and characterization is weak, though this novel achieves the noble feat of presenting both sides of a complex environmental issue.
Kirkus Reviews
A struggling family in rural Michigan finds that fracking for natural gas can be positive and negative.In this moving story, ably told through the eyes of an 11-year-old "born naturalist," Helget weaves themes of poverty, parenting, appreciation for the natural world, and forgiveness through a balanced presentation of the complicated contemporary issue of energy supplies. Life has not been easy for Fern, a white girl who is sore-pressed to keep her family—stepfather Toivo and two younger brother­s—together. Her mother and a third brother were killed in an auto accident two years earlier. Wounded physically and emotionally by his service in Iraq, Toivo loves his children deeply but has had trouble finding and keeping work in a diminishing economy. Fern forages and Toivo hunts in the old-growth forest behind their home, the forest where Kloche's Hydraulic Fracturing wants to put a wastewater pond. Worse, Fern's grandfather supports the fracking; his company will sell Kloche's lots of piping. He's also demanding custody of the children. Fern's first-person voice is completely convincing. Her vocabulary and phrasing is rural Midwestern, and her imagery comes from the natural world she loves. The sense of place is palpable. The author demonstrates the poverty of Fern's family and friends (including a Muslim family from Somalia) with telling detail, and the tension and action arise naturally. Though occasional small details may pull readers out of the narrative, this nuanced take on a pressing issue is an important one. Middle-grade readers will find much to think about in this beautifully written story. (Fiction. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
Fern, a sixth grader in the fictional town of Colter, Mich., understands the -constant itch of being poor, how it-s always a bug biting your back in a place you can-t reach.- Since the death of Fern-s mother and youngest brother in a car accident, her ex-military stepfather, who self-medicates to manage his PTSD, has struggled to hold a job, leaving Fern to juggle school, caring for her brothers, and foraging for meals in a nearby forest. As Fern-s grandfather attempts to gain custody of the children, a hydraulic fracturing operation brings additional changes; fracking offers steady, much-needed income for her family and others but will also result in the demolition of Fern-s forest. Inspired by her mother-s recipe book, filled with ingredients found in the forest, Fern aims to win an annual science fair by spreading awareness about the resources that may soon be destroyed. Helget (Wonder at the End of the World) confronts substantial subjects like poverty, environmentalism, and mental illness, injecting humor and hope to provide balance. Without lecturing, she encourages readers to be thoughtful and curious, like Fern. Ages 8-12. Agent: Faye Bender, the Book Group. (Apr.)

Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A struggling family in rural Michigan finds that fracking for natural gas can be positive and negative.In this moving story, ably told through the eyes of an 11-year-old "born naturalist," Helget weaves themes of poverty, parenting, appreciation for the natural world, and forgiveness through a balanced presentation of the complicated contemporary issue of energy supplies. Life has not been easy for Fern, a white girl who is sore-pressed to keep her family—stepfather Toivo and two younger brother­s—together. Her mother and a third brother were killed in an auto accident two years earlier. Wounded physically and emotionally by his service in Iraq, Toivo loves his children deeply but has had trouble finding and keeping work in a diminishing economy. Fern forages and Toivo hunts in the old-growth forest behind their home, the forest where Kloche's Hydraulic Fracturing wants to put a wastewater pond. Worse, Fern's grandfather supports the fracking; his company will sell Kloche's lots of piping. He's also demanding custody of the children. Fern's first-person voice is completely convincing. Her vocabulary and phrasing is rural Midwestern, and her imagery comes from the natural world she loves. The sense of place is palpable. The author demonstrates the poverty of Fern's family and friends (including a Muslim family from Somalia) with telling detail, and the tension and action arise naturally. Though occasional small details may pull readers out of the narrative, this nuanced take on a pressing issue is an important one. Middle-grade readers will find much to think about in this beautifully written story. (Fiction. 8-12)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Incredible things can be found in the woods if you know where to look. Fern loves wandering among the trees, which remind her of her mother and help feed her family while Toivo, her stepfather, is between jobs. The past year has been tough on them all since the accident took Fern's mother and baby brother, but Fern helps Toivo by cooking, minding her two little brothers, and foraging for food. It's a lot of pressure for a sixth-grader, and the calls from bill collectors and Child Protective Services only add to her worries. When a fracking company comes to town with plans to turn her woods into a wastewater pond, Fern decides to use her STEM fair project to showcase the useful flora the community would lose if the frackers chop down the trees. Helget (Wonder at the Edge of the World, 2015) has penned a rich narrative laced with astute observations on poverty, grief, forgiveness, and environmental concerns. Many stories would buckle under such weighty themes, but Fern proves a stalwart protagonist who bears this load admirably. Her fortitude and big heart give the story a determined hopefulness, even as she comes to realize many of life's problems don't have simple or straightforward solutions. An uncommonly fine account of perseverance and understanding in the face of adversity.
Word Count: 46,271
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.0 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 189896 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.4 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q77810
Lexile: 610L
Guided Reading Level: V
Fountas & Pinnell: V

This timely coming of age novel takes on the controversial issues of fracking and environmental protection.

Stay away from my woods.

Eleven-year-old Fern doesn't have the easiest life. Her stepfather is out of work, and she's responsible for putting dinner on the table--not to mention keeping her wild younger brothers out of trouble. The woods near their home is her only refuge, where she finds food and plays with her neighbor's dog. But when a fracking company rolls into town, her special grove could be ripped away, and no one else seems to care.

Her stepfather needs the money that a job with the frackers could bring to their family, and her wealthy grandfather likes the business it brings to their town. Even her best friend doesn't understand what the land means to Fern. With no one on her side, how can she save the forest that has protected her for so long?

The acclaimed author of Wonder at the Edge of the World weaves a poignant story about life on the poverty line, the environment, friendship and family--and, most of all, finding your place in the world.


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