Throwback Thursday: Julie of the Wolves

 Throwback Thursday is a new feature at Reading Lark. We'll still be doing some Book Boyfriend Posts and Book BFF Posts on Thursdays as well, but the Larks wanted a little variety on Thursdays. Throwback Thursday will allow us to celebrate some of the reads we loved way back when...

Julie of the Wolves
By: Jean Craighead George
Release Date: 1972

With the popularity of books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and the Harry Potter series, there is no shortage of strong, smart, and independent young female leads in books these days, but as a young reader in 1979 my options were more limited. Nancy Drew and Anne Shirley were pretty much all I had (I was never a Little House on the Prairie fan, I hadn't been introduced to Jo March just yet, and I was too young for Lizzy Bennet), until I read Julie of the Wolves.  

And Julie/Miyax isn't just strong, smart, and independent; she is fierce and inventive and ferocious and compassionate and resourceful and brave. I knew Julie's struggles weren't like anything I'd ever been exposed to as a suburban 13 year old lounging on my pink and white gingham bedspread while reading, but somehow I knew they were real -- arranged marriage, an abusive husband, tragically losing both parents, and honest to goodness, life and death survival in the Alaskan wilderness. I loved this book because it wasn't easy and because it gave me the girl power I craved as a preteen. Plus, it certainly didn't hurt things that my name was in the title. ;)

Summary via Goodreads

Miyax, like many adolescents, is torn. But unlike most, her choices may determine whether she lives or dies. At 13, an orphan, and unhappily married, Miyax runs away from her husband's parents' home, hoping to reach San Francisco and her pen pal. But she becomes lost in the vast Alaskan tundra, with no food, no shelter, and no idea which is the way to safety. Now, more than ever, she must look hard at who she really is. Is she Miyax, Eskimo girl of the old ways? Or is she Julie (her "gussak"-white people-name), the modernized teenager who must mock the traditional customs? And when a pack of wolves begins to accept her into their community, Miyax must learn to think like a wolf as well. If she trusts her Eskimo instincts, will she stand a chance of surviving?