A searing examination of the power that rape culture and institutional sexism have to pervade communities and shape lives. Immensely powerful and unflinchingly honest, THE WOLVES ARE WAITING is the story of the victims and perpetrators living under our own roofs.
THE WOLVES ARE WAITING
by Natasha Friend
Little, Brown, Fall 2021
(chez Writers House)
On the 9th hole of the golf course, her best friend wakes her up. Her underwear, she learns, had been flown on the flagstick. Three boys were chased away by a classmate she barely knows as she laid on the ground unconscious. Before the night of the Frat Fair, 15-year old Nora Melchionda’s life could have been a Gen-Z John Hughes movie. Like any teenager, she had bumps in the road, but none of that mattered, because she had her dad, Rhett Melchionda. Rhett was not only Nora’s hero, but as the Athletic Director of Faber College, he was also idolized by everyone she knew. Now, Nora would give anything to go back to that life. The life before whatever happened on the golf course. She doesn’t want to talk about it—not that she could, because she doesn’t remember anything—and insists it was nothing. If Nora ignores it, maybe it will all go away. She hopes it will all go away. But two classmates are determined to get justice for Nora. Their investigation extends not just into who drugged her, but why she found a number 9 written in Sharpie on her crotch the morning after. Their sleuthing uncovers a chilling and deep-rooted reality: the pledges of Faber College’s athlete-filled frat are playing a game called 18 Holes, and Nora is one of the many girls who were branded as part of the score. As Nora wrestles with what happened on the golf course and unearths the sinister game behind it, her world is upended by the discovery that Rhett not only knew about 18 Holes. . . he invented it. THE WOLVES ARE WAITING begins in the aftermath of an attempted sexual assault, but it is not about one night or one incident. This is a story that spans generations and threatens to swallow a whole community.
Natasha Friend is the author of young-adult novels How We Roll, The Other F-Word, Where You’ll Find Me, My Life in Black & White, and For Keeps, as well as middle-grade novels Perfect, Lush, and Bounce. Her books have won such awards as the Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature, the Rhode Island Teen Book Award, the Isinglass Teen Read Award, and the Golden Sower Award; they have appeared on the YALSA Best Fiction List, Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, Junior Library Guild Selections, NYPL’s Best Books for the Teen Age, and the Rainbow List. Natasha lives in Connecticut with her family and two crazy dogs. When she isn’t writing, she is reading, washing baseball pants, and wishing she was in a talent show.