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The end of the wild
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Helping her impoverished family hunt and forage for food in the forest near her home, 11-year-old Fern worries that a fracking company's plans will damage the local environment but cannot get her family and neighbors, who are more focused on the prospect of jobs, to understand the threat. By the author of Wonder at the Edge of the World. Simultaneous eBook. 25,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

"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"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

Eleven-year-old Fern helps her poor family by hunting and foraging for food in the forest near her home and worries that fracking will damage their livelihood, but she cannot get her family and neighbors to understand the threat. - (Baker & Taylor)

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.
- (Grand Central Pub)

Author Biography

Nicole Helget is the acclaimed author of the middle grade novel Wonder at the Edge of the World and The End of the Wild, as well as three adult novels, The Turtle Catcher, The Summer of Ordinary Ways, and Stillwater. She has also co-authored a middle grade novel, Horse Camp, and she invites you to visit her online at and @NicoleHelget. She lives in St. Peter, Minnesota. - (Grand Central Pub)

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Booklist Reviews

*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. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

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. Copyright 2017 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 5–7—Eleven-year-old Fern has more responsibilities than most children her age. Since the deaths of her mother and baby sister in a car crash two years earlier, she has lived with her stepfather, Toivo, and her two younger brothers. Fern works hard to help keep her poor family together. Toivo, a veteran of the Iraq War, has been unemployed since losing his job as a mechanic, and although he does odd jobs to support his family, he drinks too much and it's a struggle to keep food on the table. Fern is central to the family's success. Their house is surrounded by a forest, which Fern treasures as both sanctuary and food basket. The woods are where she gathers ingredients to make dishes from her mother's recipe book, several of which are included in the novel. Fern has good friends, including her closest companion, Alkomso Isak, who wears a hijab, and she deeply respects her science teacher, Mr. Flores. Fern is struggling to select a project for the school's STEM fair when she discovers that her beloved woods are being considered as a wastewater pond for a fracking company. It is an especially complicated issue for Fern. Her grandfather, one of the town's wealthiest men, actively disapproves of Toivo and supports the frackers. To Toivo, the fracking company's arrival means he may be able to obtain a secure job. But as Fern learns more about the threat of environmental disruption, she decides on her STEM project and develops an unlikely friendship with a neighbor. Although some of the dialogue is improbable, this is an excellent book for readers interested in exploring a complex contemporary environmental issue. Fern is a likable character who is, in her words, figuring out "what kind of adult do I want to be." A worthy goal.

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

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