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Review: “The Ghost and the Wolf: The Broken,” Book One|Reviewed by Bill Schwab

“The Ghost and the Wolf” is an action-packed thriller written for young adults, but suitable for older adults too. What starts as a scavenger hunt morphs into an attempt to solve a mysterious case of the paranormal.

Lex is a self-proclaimed investigator of the supernatural who meets Penelope, a delightfully smart nerd who always aces her journalism courses. The budding journalist is challenged to seek the position of high school newspaper chief editor. She prepares her application for the position by taking copious notes on the investigation.

As the two try to unveil a mystery, they run into several “Packs” of “extraordinary people.” These Packs are part of a secret organization called “The Broken” who represent teenagers, mostly from broken families, abusive homes or those generally overlooked or forgotten by society.

As the plot unfolds, the author skillfully addresses and presents life lessons on racism, stereotypes, homosexuality, homelessness and other significant social issues. The book stresses the importance of empathy and the notion of “trying to walk in others’ shoes” before judging them.

I found the book immediately engaging and hard to put down. The action is tightly paced and set in Saint Louis. These urban detectives visit many familiar locations including Forest Park, the Hill and sites along Interstate 44. This local interest adds to the intrigue and reading enjoyment.

Leonn's flowing style and ability to create suspense is notable. She clearly and colorfully develops each individual’s personality as relationships form within the Broken groups. “The Ghost and the Wolf” is Leonn’s debut and the first in a series of young adult books she plans to produce. She has provided several pages of teaching aids at the end of the book for teachers to use in the classroom.

Shelly X. Leonn graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and worked at The Missourian in Washington as the web and youth editor. During her time advising the youth staff, she realized her true calling was teaching. Her years in education have been spent in middle school and high school language arts classrooms. Owl Hollow Press is the publisher of this 273-page book.

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