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The Children and the Wolves

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Printz Honor-winning author Adam Rapp spins a raw, gripping, and ultimately redemptive story about three disaffected teens and a kidnapped child. Three teenagers - a sharp, well-to-do girl named Bounce and two struggling boys named Wiggins and Orange - are holding a four-yearold girl hostage in Orange's basement. The little girl answers to "the Frog" and seems content to pl Printz Honor-winning author Adam Rapp spins a raw, gripping, and ultimately redemptive story about three disaffected teens and a kidnapped child. Three teenagers - a sharp, well-to-do girl named Bounce and two struggling boys named Wiggins and Orange - are holding a four-yearold girl hostage in Orange's basement. The little girl answers to "the Frog" and seems content to play a video game about wolves all day long, a game that parallels the reality around her. As the stakes grow higher and the guilt and tension mount, Wiggins cracks and finally brings Frog to a trusted adult. Not for the faint of heart, Adam Rapp's powerful, mesmerizing narrative ventures deep into psychological territory that few dare to visit.


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Printz Honor-winning author Adam Rapp spins a raw, gripping, and ultimately redemptive story about three disaffected teens and a kidnapped child. Three teenagers - a sharp, well-to-do girl named Bounce and two struggling boys named Wiggins and Orange - are holding a four-yearold girl hostage in Orange's basement. The little girl answers to "the Frog" and seems content to pl Printz Honor-winning author Adam Rapp spins a raw, gripping, and ultimately redemptive story about three disaffected teens and a kidnapped child. Three teenagers - a sharp, well-to-do girl named Bounce and two struggling boys named Wiggins and Orange - are holding a four-yearold girl hostage in Orange's basement. The little girl answers to "the Frog" and seems content to play a video game about wolves all day long, a game that parallels the reality around her. As the stakes grow higher and the guilt and tension mount, Wiggins cracks and finally brings Frog to a trusted adult. Not for the faint of heart, Adam Rapp's powerful, mesmerizing narrative ventures deep into psychological territory that few dare to visit.

30 review for The Children and the Wolves

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    3.5. This is a hell of a risky book! Wiggins, Orange, and Bounce have taken a child they've named Frog captive, and they're keeping her locked up in Orange's basement. She's been missing for weeks around town, and Bounce has convinced the two boys they can make money from her captivity by deceiving people in town that they're collecting change to fund search and rescue efforts. Frog spends all day in Orange's basement playing a video game about wolves who chase dirty children up trees; she's gett 3.5. This is a hell of a risky book! Wiggins, Orange, and Bounce have taken a child they've named Frog captive, and they're keeping her locked up in Orange's basement. She's been missing for weeks around town, and Bounce has convinced the two boys they can make money from her captivity by deceiving people in town that they're collecting change to fund search and rescue efforts. Frog spends all day in Orange's basement playing a video game about wolves who chase dirty children up trees; she's getting really good at it. Rapp's story, which is really short, is packed. It's a book about power and control on so many levels. Bounce has a handle on Wiggins and Orange, convincing them to partake in this kidnapping scheme, which is really her way of seeking revenge on a poet who came to her English class and challenged her in a way she'd never been challenged before. Then there's an even thicker layer on top of this, which is that of social class. Bounce is from wealth, from having any and everything she wants whenever she wants it (see: her little revenge plan) while Orange and Wiggins come from the wrong side of the tracks. They are poor, poor, poor, and they are struggling against not only that, but they're struggling against terrible family issues, loss, grief, illiteracy, abuse, and more. The story's told through all four of the character voices, but it's Wiggins who readers learn the most about. He bookends the story, and he's where Rapp takes immense risks that will turn many readers off, if not outright repulse them. (view spoiler)[ Wiggins's lack of education and his terrible home life have colored his worldview and his vocabulary -- he's unabashedly racist and crass, but he doesn't even know better because he has never known better. We get an uncensored, undereducated kid without any censorship and it is really uncomfortable to read...but really, really important to who he is and what he does in the story. (hide spoiler)] Rapp's book's pretty bleak, and the ending doesn't necessarily answer any questions, which I appreciated. As soon as I finished this one, I went back and reread the first chapter. I think this is a book that requires more than one reading to fully comprehend since it is so dense. It reminded me a lot of how Blythe Woolston writes her characters and her stories: they seem pretty straightforward but they are anything but. I'm shocked this hasn't been getting more attention, and part of me wonders if that's because it is so risky and unsettling. Full review here: http://www.stackedbooks.org/2012/04/c...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne Butler

    Unrelenting. Brutal. Sociopathic. Sad. Non-empathic. Told in 4 voices this story is of two boys, Wiggins & Orange, who under the steely direction of the highly self-opinionated Bounce, the lone female, kidnap 3 year-old Frog and plan other crimes. At 152 pages, Rapp's writing is spare but packs a wallop of a punch. Characters, while not entirely likable or even relatable are starkly drawn with all their flaws bared wide open. You see everything and not one thing is the cause or by-product of the Unrelenting. Brutal. Sociopathic. Sad. Non-empathic. Told in 4 voices this story is of two boys, Wiggins & Orange, who under the steely direction of the highly self-opinionated Bounce, the lone female, kidnap 3 year-old Frog and plan other crimes. At 152 pages, Rapp's writing is spare but packs a wallop of a punch. Characters, while not entirely likable or even relatable are starkly drawn with all their flaws bared wide open. You see everything and not one thing is the cause or by-product of the choices they make. Rapp is not concerned with why the kids do what the do, or even the consequences of their actions. This is more a slice of a life seen from the lost and hopeless to whom the future is bleak and pointless. My one small gripe is the voice of Frog. Having a three year old speak so well made her sound older than she was. This is a minor gripe. Like the movie "The River's Edge" and the book "The Space Between Trees", Rapp's book doesn't wash itself clean from your brain. Recommended for the high school level and for those who like a little fiction mixed into their true crime reading.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jemppu

    Unrestrained, unapologetic and delightfully uninhibited. Littered with numerous crude and hilarious throwaway lines, too, to have you chuckling for the audacity all through the unfortunate. "Gritty innocence" is how I think I described Adam's flavor somewhere previously, which is inescapably true for this as well: Adam has such a way of expressing authentically the childlike state of pure spontaneity and shamelessness before self-restrain and societal constraints have any meaning for an individua Unrestrained, unapologetic and delightfully uninhibited. Littered with numerous crude and hilarious throwaway lines, too, to have you chuckling for the audacity all through the unfortunate. "Gritty innocence" is how I think I described Adam's flavor somewhere previously, which is inescapably true for this as well: Adam has such a way of expressing authentically the childlike state of pure spontaneity and shamelessness before self-restrain and societal constraints have any meaning for an individual. True is also Adam's continued whimsy with names. Raw, sweet, blunt, and brilliant.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Hicks

    I'll lead with this fun fact, because I'm 37 years old and watched wayyy too many '80s comedies on VHS - author Adam Rapp is the brother of actor Anthony Rapp, who was the lead kid from Adventures in Babysitting . I thought Anthony Rapp had pulled a "whatever happened to...?" disappearing act, but it turns out he found huge success in the original cast of Rent on Broadway. He even has a memoir, which - if you know me - you know I'm eager to read celebrity memoirs from almost anybody I gre I'll lead with this fun fact, because I'm 37 years old and watched wayyy too many '80s comedies on VHS - author Adam Rapp is the brother of actor Anthony Rapp, who was the lead kid from Adventures in Babysitting . I thought Anthony Rapp had pulled a "whatever happened to...?" disappearing act, but it turns out he found huge success in the original cast of Rent on Broadway. He even has a memoir, which - if you know me - you know I'm eager to read celebrity memoirs from almost anybody I grew up watching on TV and in the movies. But this review is about Adam Rapp, author of a handful of novels that are all, A) around 160 pages long, and, B) push the envelope of what you can get away with in the YA genre. When you read Adam Rapp, you can expect some disturbing sexual content, some rough language, and some violence. Rapp is best known for the Printz Honor title Punkzilla , which I read about 18 months ago and absolutely loved, and his 2003 debut 33 Snowfish , which I'll likely be reading sometime in the next week. But this review is about The Children and the Wolves , Rapp's 2012 novel written in the voice of four narrators. Three are teenagers (young ones, too, like 13 and 14), the fourth is a preschooler known as The Frog. She chimes in from time to time in chopped poetic language that is unconvincingly wise beyond her years but is not properly punctuated - which, you know, that part seems authentic. Of the teenage narrators, Bounce is the ringleader. She's a black, corrupt soul, clever as all hell, parents uncaring and constantly gone but leaving behind a Fort Knox-sized cache of Oxycontin she uses to bribe the other two main characters into carrying out her dark wishes. There's Orange, blindly loyal and basically too dumb to function. And there's Wiggins, who slowly builds reader sympathy by questioning and eventually subverting Bounce's destructive plans. This is a book designed to make you uncomfortable, and it frequently accomplished its goal. Still, given the premise - the three teens kidnap the Frog, chain her in the basement and solicit donations for her rescue fund, all while Bounce plans to poison a local poet who visited her English class and dared to call her out for being unnecessarily cynical - the content here could've been far more disturbing. I was grateful that it wasn't. TCATW for me was uneven, but I feel like I'll read through Rapp's entire catalog over the next couple years. At his best, Rapp has a fantastic way with words. Stunning, evocative sentences that convey intelligence and humor with no unnecessary hand-holding detours. He's got the goods - Punkzilla still stands out for me, and I've read 130 books since.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    "We feed the Frog Chex cereal and Flintstones chewable vitamins with extra C. She's got a couch and a toilet and a sink and a mini refrigerator and two pillows and a coloring book and crayons and when her underwears get dirty I wash them in the washer-dryer unit. We got a thing of Tide and a thing of Snuggle fabric softener. The washer-dryer unit vibrates a lot and if you press up against it you can get your nut off. I only do that when the Frog is asleep. You can't get your nut off in front of "We feed the Frog Chex cereal and Flintstones chewable vitamins with extra C. She's got a couch and a toilet and a sink and a mini refrigerator and two pillows and a coloring book and crayons and when her underwears get dirty I wash them in the washer-dryer unit. We got a thing of Tide and a thing of Snuggle fabric softener. The washer-dryer unit vibrates a lot and if you press up against it you can get your nut off. I only do that when the Frog is asleep. You can't get your nut off in front of a little kid. That's how your soul gets a hole in it. That's what I think even though Bounce says we don't got souls. She'll say, There ain't shit inside us but blood and water. Bones and blood and water. She says a soul is something made up by priests and greeting card companies. She reads a lot and I trust her about most things, but not about souls. I imagine a soul is a little perfect crystal egg floating in your chest. Somewhere deeper than where they put your heart. Somewhere so deep inside that the doctors can't find it with all their machines and microcameras." Wiggins, Orange and Bounce are three adolescents who, each in their own way, have been discarded by family and society. Together, they form a rough alliance, and kidnap a young girl from her ballet practice. They keep her in the basement of Orange's house, where she spends her days playing the same Playstation game, a game that eerily echoes her relationship to her captors. Stakes eventually get higher, and the crew begins to take larger risks. Eventually, the guilt gets to Wiggins, and he starts to look for a way out of the crew, and a way to get the Frog out of the basement. But for both of them, it might be too late. After reading Jack Gantos's DEAD END IN NORVELT, this was about as far away from Newbery-sweet as I could get. I'm always impressed by Adam Rapp's writing - he presents teens in desperate situations, in unflinching prose. His characters live on the fringes of society, the places most of us hope to avoid, and Rapp makes no excuses for their behavior. The multiple perspectives used in the novel help present a fuller view of what's happening with Bounce's crew and the Frog, but while Wiggins certainly deserved the most "space," I wanted to hear more from Bounce. Not because I thought she could be redeemed at all, but more to see what made her tick. But this novel delivered exactly what I want when I read Rapp's work - a hard punch to the gut. His writing is definitely not for everyone, but his audience appreciates the brutal beauty in his writing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dawn C

    Three deeply troubled kids kidnap a four year old girl they call Frog, and from there on things go downhill. In an unapologetic language we are shown the naked truth of the lives these kids lead. Neglect and abuse is their normal. It's a disturbing and raw read, until the end which I won't spoil. I'm almost regretting it's so short as it's such a dense story I feel like I need to read it again. Three deeply troubled kids kidnap a four year old girl they call Frog, and from there on things go downhill. In an unapologetic language we are shown the naked truth of the lives these kids lead. Neglect and abuse is their normal. It's a disturbing and raw read, until the end which I won't spoil. I'm almost regretting it's so short as it's such a dense story I feel like I need to read it again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    geez, and I thought 33 Snowfish and Punkzilla were dark. Rapp just about lost me in the middle of this one. I have to be able to at lest believe that the characters might be real people, and by the end I did. In addition to "dark", I have to add another tag: "disturbing". geez, and I thought 33 Snowfish and Punkzilla were dark. Rapp just about lost me in the middle of this one. I have to be able to at lest believe that the characters might be real people, and by the end I did. In addition to "dark", I have to add another tag: "disturbing".

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ringo The Cat

    Review first published at: http://ringothecat.wordpress.com/2012... Adam Rapp is a risk taker pur sang. The cat absolutely loved Punkzilla. One of its most striking features may have been the ease with which Rapp gives each character a distinctive voice. Even though Punkzilla also hosted a string of society’s most marginalized outcasts, the main plot premise (a dysfunctional teen finding his way in the world) wasn’t that controversial. It’s a whole different ballgame with The Children and the Wol Review first published at: http://ringothecat.wordpress.com/2012... Adam Rapp is a risk taker pur sang. The cat absolutely loved Punkzilla. One of its most striking features may have been the ease with which Rapp gives each character a distinctive voice. Even though Punkzilla also hosted a string of society’s most marginalized outcasts, the main plot premise (a dysfunctional teen finding his way in the world) wasn’t that controversial. It’s a whole different ballgame with The Children and the Wolves. Rapp addresses things people hardly ever want to talk about: the inherent badness in certain individuals. It’s never just a nice story. It’s disturbing and unsettling. In the case of The Children and the Wolves, this is shown in the character of Bounce – an 8th grader who is for all intents and purposes an evil genius. Because this book is so darn short (a mere 160 pages) it would be a shame to give away too much of the story, but suffice it to say that Bounce’s Uber-arrogance gets challenged, which makes her decide to take revenge on the challenger – a poet – and to recruit two 7th graders to do part of the dirty work. The dirty work in this case is to kidnap a 3-year-old toddler, who they call ‘The Frog’, keep her captured and feed her a video game (The children and the wolves) to keep her quiet, so she can get on with the revenge plan. The strength of Rapp’s novel yet again lies in managing to give each character a distinctive voice. There’s Wiggins, who lives alone with this mother (a nurse and a drug addict) after his father – a ranger during the Iraq war – left them. His voice is raw and real, yet sensitive at the same time. There’s Orange who lives with his disabled father. There’s The Frog, who is kept in Orange’s basement and continues to play a video game at which she gets better and better as the story progresses – a plot device as well as a metaphor. Most of all there’s Bounce of course, whose parents work for a drug company giving her an endless supply of Oxycontin. Because her parents are mostly away ‘on business’, Bounce has learned to take care of herself, and most of all, she has learned how to see the weakness in other people and to use those weaknesses to her own advantage. The controversy of The Children and the Wolves, of course lies in the fact that these kids are so young (13 and 14) and yet are committing crimes that you’d even be repulsed by if they were committed by an adult. It also raises the question of responsibility and cause and effect. In the case of the three kids, none of the parents are so-called “responsible parents”. There are drug addicts, absent parents, lost parents, etc. , which begs the question: would these kids be the way they are if their circumstances were any different? Or – in the cause of Bounce – are they just inherently bad? Obviously there is also the question of who the victims are in this tale of sociological desolation and how the roles of victim and perpetrator are often entangled. These are the type of sociological questions (nature vs. nurture) that Adam Rapp manages to tackle in these mere 160 pages. The Children and the Wolves is not as fleshed out as Punkzilla, but it’s definitely an interesting and risky novel(la) that dares to ask difficult questions, doesn’t shy away from taboo and will leave you with an unsettling feeling. It talks about the evil that man can do, but somehow amidst all that bottled up rage and violence, there’s a flicker of hope when Wiggins does what he does.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen H

    I agree with Kelly ...3.5 Even more disturbing than Rapp's 33 Snowfish, The Children and the Wolves gives readers a glimpse inside a terrifyingly dark world where the whims of a budding sociopath are carried out with no intervention, save the too little, too late redemption of one of her henchmen. Bounce is an incredibly dark anti-heroine, and while 33 Snowfish allowed the dark characters to retain some fragility (and, thus, sympathy) Rapp has stripped all that away leaving pure, cold, evil. The I agree with Kelly ...3.5 Even more disturbing than Rapp's 33 Snowfish, The Children and the Wolves gives readers a glimpse inside a terrifyingly dark world where the whims of a budding sociopath are carried out with no intervention, save the too little, too late redemption of one of her henchmen. Bounce is an incredibly dark anti-heroine, and while 33 Snowfish allowed the dark characters to retain some fragility (and, thus, sympathy) Rapp has stripped all that away leaving pure, cold, evil. The manipulation of the two stooges (Orange and Wiggins) that follow her orders, the carelessness with which she decides to perpetrate hatred, they are all very difficult to read, because we can see no alternative for Bounce. She is what she will always be, and even at the end, there is no clear retribution for her numerous crimes. For those working in conservative environments it would be appropriate for you to read the sexual scenes and decide for yourself how your readers will react. There are scenes with co-showering, mutual masturbation, public sexual encounters, and a carelessness about sex that belies the power that Rapp weilds to make us exceedingly uncomfortable as readers with this content. When I think of the book today, the scene in the shower and the one in the car are still the first things I remember, which is a peculiar sensation since those were small parts of the book. Ultimately, I did purchase the book for my readers who love Rapp's ability to capture the real darkness that exists in the lives of some children -- many of whom I work with in a juvenile detention facility library. They can identify with Rapp's characters who, like themselves, have been permanently scarred by the blackness surrounding their young lives. To not buy it would be denying them the right to read something that validates their own lives and experiences, and denies them the right to feel they may have a companion in the darkness.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    Adam Rapp once again demonstrates his mastery of raw, penetrating prose and bleak imagery. A grim, haunting story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Using four different voices (Bounce, Wiggins, Orange, and Frog), this title describes life on the fringes of society, and one of the elements that makes it particularly disturbing is the fact that Bounce, the group's manipulative ringleader doesn't have to be on the fringe. She has parents (although they seem to be absent, self-absorbed or clueless most of the time), wealth, and intelligence, but she uses all her gifts to hurt others or to craft elaborate revenge-centered plots. Even though she Using four different voices (Bounce, Wiggins, Orange, and Frog), this title describes life on the fringes of society, and one of the elements that makes it particularly disturbing is the fact that Bounce, the group's manipulative ringleader doesn't have to be on the fringe. She has parents (although they seem to be absent, self-absorbed or clueless most of the time), wealth, and intelligence, but she uses all her gifts to hurt others or to craft elaborate revenge-centered plots. Even though she picked out Orange and Wiggins to do her bidding when she met them in a school detention, she has no respect for them whatsoever since they are simply the avenues through which she plans to get what she wants. Neither of the teen boys seems to realize that she is using them--or if they do, they don't seem to care. Bounce has concocted a plot to kidnap a child--Frog--and keep her chained in Orange's basement while they print out flyers and collect money to help find the missing child. She plans to set up a poet who visited her school because of a remark he made. Through each character's voice, readers learn about this plot and other acts of mayhem and will quickly note that Wiggins seems to be the character with the most empathy. He pays attention to Frog and to Orange's father even while despising his own mother and fearing the refrigerator in the kitchen, for unspecified reasons. It's clear from the beginning that if anyone is going to help Frog, it will be Wiggins. But at what price? As I closed the book, as is the case with every title Rapp has written and I've read, I felt an immense sadness for his characters while I fumbled to understand each one's behavior and motivation as well as predict their future paths. The scary thing is that there are teens and adults just like Bounce and just like Orange and Wiggins. Reading their stories reminds readers not to trust or not to trust too easily, and always leaves someone like me wondering about what led to this sort of thinking and behavior. In Bounce's case, even her teachers don't seem to have much awareness of what she is really like. How long will she able to walk on both sides of the street? Or are these events simply a last hurrah before she heads off to prep school? Is there any possibility for redemption for her? Questions, questions, questions, all with no easy answers, fill my mind, haunt my heart, and disturb my complacent existence.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    Intense, edgy, disturbing - just a few words that describe THE CHILDREN AND THE WOLVES by Adam Rapp. The reader is slapped in the face with the gritty story on the first page. Bounce, an extremely intelligent and wealthy girl meets Wiggins and Orange in detention. Bounce immediately sees them for what they are - weaklings and declares herself boss. She is disrespectful to all adults and authority figures and left alone for weeks at a time to do what she wants. The story is told in alternating poin Intense, edgy, disturbing - just a few words that describe THE CHILDREN AND THE WOLVES by Adam Rapp. The reader is slapped in the face with the gritty story on the first page. Bounce, an extremely intelligent and wealthy girl meets Wiggins and Orange in detention. Bounce immediately sees them for what they are - weaklings and declares herself boss. She is disrespectful to all adults and authority figures and left alone for weeks at a time to do what she wants. The story is told in alternating points of view allowing the reader to see inside the minds of each of the characters. All three of these eighth graders have problems. Orange lives at home with his disabled father. His mother left without explanation and he doesn't seem to care. Wiggins lives alone with his mother, a nurse with a fixation on Craig Ferguson. His father was a Ranger in the war in Iraq. When he finally came home, he didn't stay. He distrusts several things - including refrigerators. When a local poet visits Bounce's Honors English Class, he makes comments that angers her. She immediately develops a plan to deal with him and enlists the help of her two lackeys. The first stage of her plan involves kidnapping a little girl. Wiggins is the one in charge of keeping her fed and she stays in Orange's basement because no one will find her there since Orange's father can't walk. Wiggins calls her Frog and is the only one to develop any type of relationship with her. The only thing Frog has to do all day is play a video game called "The Children and the Wolves." As Bounce's plan progresses, changes, and intensifies, Frog gets better and better at the game. After a particularly violent incident, Wiggins begins to have second thoughts about the path he is traveling with Bounce and Orange. Is he strong enough to break away from the abusive friendship? Will he be able to save Frog? THE CHILDREN AND THE WOLVES is engrossing. It is a very short 151 pages and really pulls the reader in. The fact that Bounce, Orange, and Wiggins are 13-years-old is frightening. Bounce especially is scary and most likely a sociopath. She definitely has a lack of conscience and manipulates others. Orange just wants her attention and approval and poor Wiggins, I think, just wants somewhere to belong. This one will really stick with you.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I don't know what to think of this one. I was definitely pleased it was such a quick read since it is so thoroughly unpleasant. There are readers who would love it, but I am not one of them - for one thing I like a little humor for leavening in my books and there really wasn't any here. Rapp is dealing with some pretty heavy themes - this is basically an indictment of American consumerist society for one. How does violence in our entertainment influence our children? (Bounce's love of Ultimate F I don't know what to think of this one. I was definitely pleased it was such a quick read since it is so thoroughly unpleasant. There are readers who would love it, but I am not one of them - for one thing I like a little humor for leavening in my books and there really wasn't any here. Rapp is dealing with some pretty heavy themes - this is basically an indictment of American consumerist society for one. How does violence in our entertainment influence our children? (Bounce's love of Ultimate Fighting, the video game Frog plays, etc.) One of the criticisms I've read of this is that the voices of Orange and Wiggins aren't distinct from each other, but I actually didn't think that was true. I thought all four voices were easily recognizable. Bounce is a terrifying character and I pity whichever school she ends up at - prep or otherwise. I can see Rapp's craft and the thought-provoking elements - and there's plenty of metaphor to look at in Frog's video game in particular - but I can't decide how successful he is because I'm so distracted by the unremitting grimness of things. It almost feels like a cautiionary tale - "if we don't do a better job taking care of our children, this is where we're going to end up." It's also so lean that it feels almost like a sketch at times. I guess I'm going to come down on the side of this being really well crafted, but not at all for me and quite depressing in general.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    OK, so I've heard that Adam Rapp's writing is gut-wrenching. When I read the description of this book, I figured I'd see just how disturbing it could really get. Turns out, pretty darn chilling. Three middle-school-aged kids have kidnapped a 4-year-old girl whom they refer to as "the Frog" and are keeping her in one of their basements. The culprits are Wiggins, Orange and Bounce. Bounce is both wealthy and intelligent, but appears to lack any sense of compassion and is thoroughly manipulative . OK, so I've heard that Adam Rapp's writing is gut-wrenching. When I read the description of this book, I figured I'd see just how disturbing it could really get. Turns out, pretty darn chilling. Three middle-school-aged kids have kidnapped a 4-year-old girl whom they refer to as "the Frog" and are keeping her in one of their basements. The culprits are Wiggins, Orange and Bounce. Bounce is both wealthy and intelligent, but appears to lack any sense of compassion and is thoroughly manipulative . Wiggins and Orange are both poor and not terribly bright. The boys are completely captivated by Bounce and will more or less do whatever she tells them to do. It is Bounce who has masterminded the kidnapping as part of a larger, darker scheme. This book is dark, dark, dark. You're not going to actually like any of the characters, except the Frog. You will, however, hear the story from each perspective, including the Frog (who, by the way, spends her days in the basement playing a super-creepy game that shares the same title as this book). Each voice is sharp and distinct and Rapp holds nothing back. This slim volume proves that, sometimes, even one sentence by a skilled writer can be more evocative than pages and pages of description from another. The brevity of this story only adds to its impact.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ms. B

    Three young teenagers, Bounce (aka Carla) and the two boys Wiggins and Orange who she uses as her lackeys, kidnap Frog (aka Lauren) and then blackmail others by collecting money for Frog's "search". This is a book for those looking for an element of darkness in their reads. Or those looking for stories with unredeemable characters. Three young teenagers, Bounce (aka Carla) and the two boys Wiggins and Orange who she uses as her lackeys, kidnap Frog (aka Lauren) and then blackmail others by collecting money for Frog's "search". This is a book for those looking for an element of darkness in their reads. Or those looking for stories with unredeemable characters.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Karla

    This book was pointless crap.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    4.5 stars Wow. What a short, intense, unusual book. Halfway through this book I had a moment of "What am I reading???" At that point I did take pause and look at other reviews to make sure I was fully grasping what was happening, so I had an idea of how it was going to end. To me, this is a book about teens who feel stuck in their lives, and feel like they have no control over their lives, and no one has taught them how to have healthy coping mechanisms. Rapp does not shy away at all these teens' 4.5 stars Wow. What a short, intense, unusual book. Halfway through this book I had a moment of "What am I reading???" At that point I did take pause and look at other reviews to make sure I was fully grasping what was happening, so I had an idea of how it was going to end. To me, this is a book about teens who feel stuck in their lives, and feel like they have no control over their lives, and no one has taught them how to have healthy coping mechanisms. Rapp does not shy away at all these teens' realities of social class, bad family relationships, and hateful worldviews. They aren't they way that they are by choice, but because it's what they were born into. So, the question is addressed: what happens to these teens that feel stuck? what becomes of them? He writes about Bounce, a girl from an affluent background, and two boys who she plays a heavy roll in controlling: Wiggins and Orange. Bounce has an extremely cynical attitude, and while the exact root of it is never explored, to me it seemed like part of it had to do with her parents working in the corporate end of pharmaceuticals. Wiggins lives with his mother, a nurse who comes home and soaks her feet in bleach every night, in a crappy apartment. Orange lives with a father who really isn't much of a father at all. Like the summary says, this book is about what happens when the three kidnap a four year old girl. We obviously learn a lot about the characters and why they are the way they are, but there are still missing pieces. Bounce has tendencies towards physical violence, and we don't totally understand where that comes from. We know her relationship with her parents isn't good, but is she mentally ill? Does she have a great deal of trauma? This book is also about what happens when adults come in and question or challenge the reality of these teens' lives. The ending of this book nails it. This book isn't going to work for everyone, teen and adult. The style is beautiful in contrast with the harsh reality of what's happening in the story, of these characters who hold nothing back. The Children and the Wolves isn't a book to satisfy readers who want a clear ending to a story, but a book to give to readers who want something that will stick with them long after.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    "they come out of the trees they walk slow and their eyes glow yellow I can see them from far away I am the best at seeing them" Rapp has something about his style that draws me in. It's mysterious and raw and disturbing. The whole time, I'm confused, but I'm so intrigued. He makes anything seem horrifyingly beautiful. "The moon was sick and gray like it had a fungus. It kept disappearing behind the clouds and it seemed like it was losing power. Like it might fall a thousand feet and turn into space "they come out of the trees they walk slow and their eyes glow yellow I can see them from far away I am the best at seeing them" Rapp has something about his style that draws me in. It's mysterious and raw and disturbing. The whole time, I'm confused, but I'm so intrigued. He makes anything seem horrifyingly beautiful. "The moon was sick and gray like it had a fungus. It kept disappearing behind the clouds and it seemed like it was losing power. Like it might fall a thousand feet and turn into space slobber." Genius girl, Bounce, is in charge of two struggling boys, Wiggins and Orange. Together, they make a team, on the hunt to de-poet the Poet, Wilbur Logg. In doing so, they kidnap a four-year-old girl off of the streets and hold her hostage in Orange's basement. Nobody knows where the girl went. Bounce, Orange, and Wiggins collect money from the neighborhood as if they're running a search for the poor little girl. They call her the Frog. The Frog is locked up by a bike lock and plays a video game in Orange's basement. It's called The Children and the Wolves. It's a battle between wolves and dirty children, a game that the four-year-old is getting good at. Wiggins has some badness in him, but now he's starting to second guess everything. Adam Rapp is brilliant. That's all I can really say. "I only unlock the Frog when she has to go to the bathroom and she stares at me the whole time she's going, even when she wipes. She's got big space alien eyes and blond hair. One of her baby teeth fell out last week so I put a quarter under her pillow. That's from the Tooth Fairy, I told her. No, it's not, she said. I was like, Who's it from then? You, she said. I said, So pretend I'm the Tooth Fairy. Okay, she said. So now she calls me Toofairy."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Bounce is the smart one, the one with all the plans. She ropes her friends Wiggins and Orange into kidnapping a little girl they call the Frog. Wiggins isn't real sure why Bounce did it, or why Bounce does any of the other things. Left alone while his mom goes on a trip with her new boyfriend, he's going to have to decide if Bounce's plans are what he really wants. This book was disturbing on so many levels (but also really good and well-written, if that makes sense). Each character has their own Bounce is the smart one, the one with all the plans. She ropes her friends Wiggins and Orange into kidnapping a little girl they call the Frog. Wiggins isn't real sure why Bounce did it, or why Bounce does any of the other things. Left alone while his mom goes on a trip with her new boyfriend, he's going to have to decide if Bounce's plans are what he really wants. This book was disturbing on so many levels (but also really good and well-written, if that makes sense). Each character has their own voice, and it becomes clear that the three friends are on a continium, like the chaotic/neutral/lawful chart. Bounce is too smart for her own good, and she's also a complete psychopath. Orange is not too bright, and not too nice, but not necessarily a psychopath. Wiggins is not smart by any stretch of the word, but he's the only one who seems to have any kernel of a conscience. The things Bounce says and does and convinces the two boys to do are pretty darn disturbing, especially considering they are all just graduated 8th grade. I did find that my ability to suspend disbelief was challenged by the video game the Frog plays, which is where the title comes from. It doesn't sound like a real video game at all. I did appreciate it as a metaphor for the story, however. Content advisory: Lots of swearing as well as racial and sexual slurs. Sexual situations include (view spoiler)[one of the boys letting men perform oral sex on him, mutual masturbation, and hand jobs. (hide spoiler)] . Dark themes such as parental neglect and drug use.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    (More like a 3.5 to be fair) Disturbing and unsettling are the top two words that come to mind when I think of what kinds of feelings this story left me. This is not a nice story and the characters who inhabit it are not sympathetic. This is a cruel story full of cruel characters who hurt and cause pain for the sake of it. I feel empty at the end of this book, carved out and wondering at the missing pieces. In many ways, I want to care about these characters who clearly have grown up in a world wh (More like a 3.5 to be fair) Disturbing and unsettling are the top two words that come to mind when I think of what kinds of feelings this story left me. This is not a nice story and the characters who inhabit it are not sympathetic. This is a cruel story full of cruel characters who hurt and cause pain for the sake of it. I feel empty at the end of this book, carved out and wondering at the missing pieces. In many ways, I want to care about these characters who clearly have grown up in a world where the deck is stacked against them. You see how little of a chance they had from the start. Absent parents, willful neglect, substance abuse, physical abuse, the non-existence of any care whatsoever. It makes you want to care. And yet, these circumstances have done what they are unfortunately wont to do—they have made children cruel. A cruel world has made cruel children. Children who want to hurt because they have been hurt. Children without conscience because when has anyone ever spared them a moment of consideration? You understand (kind of) but you can’t condone them. Their circumstances explain why they are who they are but they don’t excuse what they’ve chosen to do with who they are. These disturbed children and this unsettling story with haunt me for a while.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Harry Woodworth

    This book completely changed what I thought books could be. I picked this out from my high school library because it was small and I liked the title. It was my foray into an all-too-real world of violence, poverty, and madness. It was content I never knew could exist in books. It was the first time I had to reread entire chapters because I was so aghast as to what happened. This book holds nothing back, and I love it. Adam Rapp created a story that hooks you with fishing wire and pulls you place This book completely changed what I thought books could be. I picked this out from my high school library because it was small and I liked the title. It was my foray into an all-too-real world of violence, poverty, and madness. It was content I never knew could exist in books. It was the first time I had to reread entire chapters because I was so aghast as to what happened. This book holds nothing back, and I love it. Adam Rapp created a story that hooks you with fishing wire and pulls you places you might not want to be.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Unsettling for sure, but I knew what I was in for based off of some reviews and description of the plot. I've never read a book like this before, and once you read it, you'll understand exactly what I mean. There were some loose ends during the last parts of the book that I wish had been tied up, but I can only assume it was the authors intention to leave it up to his audience's interpretation. Not sure that I'd recommend to some people just because of the book's contents and the dark nature of t Unsettling for sure, but I knew what I was in for based off of some reviews and description of the plot. I've never read a book like this before, and once you read it, you'll understand exactly what I mean. There were some loose ends during the last parts of the book that I wish had been tied up, but I can only assume it was the authors intention to leave it up to his audience's interpretation. Not sure that I'd recommend to some people just because of the book's contents and the dark nature of the text, but if you like a creepy, psychological read, then this is for you.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Savannah Mort

    I’m not entirely sure what to say about this book. It was certainly interesting, and I read it all in one sitting. It’s a short enough book that, that really doesn’t come as a surprise.... but was it a /good/ book? I don’t know. I enjoyed it but there was something left to be desired. The characters were intriguing, the storyline was fascinating but there was something missing to really draw me into it. It was a good story, not a great one. It was disturbing and dark, but not as much as I was ex I’m not entirely sure what to say about this book. It was certainly interesting, and I read it all in one sitting. It’s a short enough book that, that really doesn’t come as a surprise.... but was it a /good/ book? I don’t know. I enjoyed it but there was something left to be desired. The characters were intriguing, the storyline was fascinating but there was something missing to really draw me into it. It was a good story, not a great one. It was disturbing and dark, but not as much as I was expecting from the reviews.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Rubio

    This book was dark, to say the least. I thought 33 snowfish and little chicago were dark but this one takes the cake. Throughout the whole book i felt an overwhelming desire to take a shower. It's written simply but with a hell of a punch making you feel like you're in the center of it all. The only complaint i have is it could've been longer. Everything was left without closure. What happened to the Frog? Did Wiggins return home? Were Bounce and Orange going to seek revenge? This book was dark, to say the least. I thought 33 snowfish and little chicago were dark but this one takes the cake. Throughout the whole book i felt an overwhelming desire to take a shower. It's written simply but with a hell of a punch making you feel like you're in the center of it all. The only complaint i have is it could've been longer. Everything was left without closure. What happened to the Frog? Did Wiggins return home? Were Bounce and Orange going to seek revenge?

  25. 5 out of 5

    LisaLisa

    A little bit of Adam Rapp goes a long way. This is the third of his novels I have read and the same themes appear over and over, to the extent that the repetitive nature of them dilutes their strength. I'm done with his work - at least for now. A little bit of Adam Rapp goes a long way. This is the third of his novels I have read and the same themes appear over and over, to the extent that the repetitive nature of them dilutes their strength. I'm done with his work - at least for now.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    I was not expecting the book and story that I read. In fact I'm surprised that the story-line was what it was. The story is not for everyone and that is including me. I was not expecting the book and story that I read. In fact I'm surprised that the story-line was what it was. The story is not for everyone and that is including me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alida McDetmott

    It's a short book but I just couldn't get into it. It's so weird! It's a short book but I just couldn't get into it. It's so weird!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nayef

    too much profanity

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mutz

    What a scary, uncomfortable and heartbreaking story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kenzi

    In short: what. The. Fuck

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