Rage is a Wolf

By kt Mather

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Sixteen-year-old Elaine Archer thinks the Earth might really be screwed. And she’s pretty sure sitting in a classroom memorizing Civil War battle dates isn’t gonna save it.

Desperate to do something meaningful, but not sure it will do any good, Elaine talks her moms into letting her drop out of school to write a novel. Spending her days circling Chicago in search of her story, she discovers a universe of people and ideas she’d never have encountered behind the doors of D.B. High. As her understanding of the complexity of the world and relationships deepens, so does her fear that she might not have what it takes to make any difference at all.

Rage Is a Wolf is the biting, hilarious story of a teenage girl trying to answer life’s questions—Is not telling your best friend something the same as lying to her? Can you have a crush on more than one person? Why is the movie Aliens so perfect? What’s the point of sex? What’s the point of life? Can one person change the world? Can a story? Can love?


Additional information


ePub (e-readers), Mobi (Kindle), Paperback


ISBN: 978-1-7329596-7-5

Publication date: 14 April 2020

Paperback price: 16


The story is a thrilling read right from the beginning. As soon as Elaine is allowed to quit school, the normal rules seem no longer to apply. The tale eschews standard YA tropes and plot structure, taking Elaine and readers in unexpected directions. By the time readers are consuming Elaine’s novel alongside Mather’s, it will be clear that they are experiencing a work of unusual depth and ambition. It is a climate change novel, yes, but it’s a book about so much more: angst, idealism, self-discovery, and reclaiming the world by reclaiming the narrative.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Rage is a Wolf is a novel that powerfully reimagines what a story grounded in feminine strength — and thus a narrative driven by its very different energy — can look like. In prodding the reader to question what constitutes heroism in a female “lead” character, Rage is a Wolf cannily exposes the gendered nature of traditional narrative structures.

Ellen Wayland-Smith, LA Review of Books

Okay, so Elaine Archer is a far cry from Holden. Necessarily so. Its 2020. She doesn't smoke, she loves good movies and yeah, she's a girl. But, her eclectic thought process and angry, probing voice calls out phonies, cliques, and hypocrisy with every page. Although predominantly packed with hilarious rants, Elaine also takes us on a journey to find what she loves. Unlike most of us, she finds it and pursues it. Even better, she gives us a taste of it - An appetizing original work of post-apocalyptic creativity.

Like Catcher, this book is not just for young adults. Its core message of, "be yourself at all costs" transcends all demographics. Rage reminds us that finding what you love is hard, but the reward, if you are successful, is a better you.

– Joran Lawrence

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn't quite know what to expect as this is a mix of fiction, dystopia and more. The story is so well woven, with engaging and relatable characters. It's great for older teens, young adults and adults alike. The themes that the main character struggles with are things all humans think about. Her journey through both her own writing and our reading of her life is funny, poignant and relevant. I felt like I was right in the midst of Chicago life grappling with living in a world where the future as we know it, and our pathways and choices, should all be questioned, since everything is unpredictable...very timely!

– Stefani Hartsfield