Book Review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a unique young adult novel about a human raised among werewolves. Bryn, or Bronwyn, was rescued by a pack of werewolves after a brutal attack killed the rest of her family at the tender age of four. Despite not being a wolf, she is marked as a member of the pack and is protected by the pack alpha, Callum, and the human mate of another wolf. Bryn is caught up in pack politics, and power struggles simply by being herself. She is scrappy and independent, hating to surrender her will to that of the pack except when absolutely necessary. When she discovers a large secret hidden in the Callum’s basement she is willing to put everything on the line to discover the full truth of who she is, and the events that tie her to that secret.

Raised by Wolves is the first book in a new young adult series about werewolves. Bryn lives among werewolves, and while she is not really accepted by all of the pack, they protect her. The alpha, Callum, treats her like a daughter and puts up with her stubborn refusal to open up the mental bond with the rest of the pack. Ali is the human mate of another werewolf in the pack, and holds the position of her adoptive mother. While the two adults sometimes but heads, Bryn is sure that she is loved by both and knows that they have her best interests at heart. At least she believes that until a series of events brings Callum’s motivation and support into question. There is a teenage boy hidden away in Callum’s basement, and as soon as Bryn discovers him, she is captivated. This teen, Chase, has been bitten and is freshly changed werewolf, something that is so rare that it is considered nearly impossible. However, Chase carries another secret, one that will change Bryn’s life forever. The werewolf that attacked and killed Bryn’s family is still alive, and still out there attacking people. The discovery of this deception triggers a confrontation that separates Bryn and Ali from the pack and sets a larger conflict in motion.

Raised by Wolves is a fresh take on the werewolf story. Raised by Wolves gives a human girl strength and independence, which one does not often see in this sub-genre. Despite all convention, Bryn is a strong, smart and quick-witted individual that respects the minds and independence of others. That set of values flies in the face of the pack mentality she has been raised within. Chase is another survivor, and their bond does smack of the ‘˜mine’ or ‘˜mate’ mentality that is found in most werewolf novels. However, the romance and physical attraction takes a back seat to staying smart and safe. This combination is often missing in both adult and young adult romance novels. Raised by Wolves has a few extra twists that can keep a reader guessing, and make them as eager as I am to continue reading what will happen next with Bryn and her friends.

I recommend this book to fans of young adult romances and paranormal novels. The story will also appeal to those that enjoy coming of age tale, but do not mind a touch of the paranormal woven into the tale. I am on the look out for more from Barnes. This is a fun and intriguing start to another great series. Fans of Carrie Vaughn or Patricia Briggs might enjoy a teen series that carries the same drive and complexity of the much-loved adult novelists.