Monday, August 14, 2017

Review, Blog Tour & Giveaway: Counting Wolves by Michael F. Stewart (Young Adult, Contemporary)

Counting Wolves
Michael F. Stewart
Publication date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
The Breakfast Club meets Grimm’s Fairy Tales in the lair of an adolescent psych ward.
Milly’s evil stepmother commits her to a pediatric psych ward. That’s just what the wolf wants. With bunk mates like Red, who’s spiraling out of control; Pig, a fire-bug who claims Milly as her own—but just wants extra dessert—Vanet, a manic teen masquerading as a fairy godmother with wish-granting powers as likely to kill as to help; and the mysterious Wolfgang, rumored to roam for blood at night; it doesn’t take long for Milly to realize that only her dead mother’s book of tales can save her.
But Milly’s spells of protection weaken as her wolf stalks the hospital corridors. The ward’s a Dark Wood, and she’s not alone. As her power crumbles, she must let go of her magic and discover new weapons if she is to transform from hunted to hunter.

Now, normally I am not a big fan of a first person POV, you have to hook me in right quick, which is what Michael F. Stewart did with Counting Wolves. I also battle depression. In high school, I was in group therapy. I think this is why I connected to the character Millie in this book. 

This story is an accurate view, in my opinion, of what dealing with mental illness looks like. The people in Milly's high school don't understand her or why she does what she does. Been there. Inside the hospital is where she learns more about herself, coping mechanisms and finds true friends. Done that. Even if you have never dealt with mental illness, this book will touch your heart about a young girl dealing with the death of her mom and having a step-mom. Wait, I have done that too, just not in the same way as Milly. Your heart will melt, and maybe even break a little, reading this book. Each kid that she meets inside has a unique story. Each dealing with issues in their own personal way. Maybe you will relate to one of them or all of them. Maybe it will open your eyes and see things in a different light. 

This book is a great read not only for adults but any teen. they don't have to have mental illness but they do all struggle with fitting in and finding their way. Maybe this is the new Catcher in the Rye. Read it, give it as a gift. You won't regret that you did.

Let me begin by saying, I have NEVER read a first person present POV I have liked, let alone loved, until now. Counting Wolves by Michael F. Stewart is an amazing book. 

The main character is Millie, and Stewart has given her a voice the resonates with the world of the mentally ill. She is likable, smart, and seriously mentally ill. I loved the way that Stewart weaves the images in Millie's mind. You can feel how intense everything is and how she really doesn't understand. The characters at school, as well as the other kids in the mental ward, all feel true.  I could see everything happening and I felt as if I was there, watching.

As someone who is not suffering from mental illness, I felt like I could finally understand, as much as a person can who doesn't suffer from this illness. I was riveted from the first page. Stewart's writing is exceptional and I'm looking forward to reading more from him.

I would suggest this book be read by all. Young and old, regardless of mental health. It is an exceptional read.

Michael F. Stewart is winner of both the 2015 Claymore Award and the 2014 inaugural Creation of Stories Award for best YA novel at the Toronto International Book Fair.
He likes to combine storytelling with technology and pioneered interactive storytelling with Scholastic Canada, Australia, and New Zealand’s, anti-cyberbullying program Bully For You. In addition to his award winning Assured Destruction series, he has authored four graphic novels with Oxford University Press Canada’s Boldprint series. Publications of nonfiction titles on Corruption and Children’s Rights are published by Scholastic and early readers are out with Pearson Education.
For adults, Michael has written THE SAND DRAGON a horror about a revenant prehistoric vampire set in the tar sands, HURAKAN a Mayan themed thriller which pits the Maya against the MS-13 with a New York family stuck in the middle, 24 BONES an urban fantasy which draws from Egyptian myth, and THE TERMINALS–a covert government unit which solves crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next.
Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s first Writer in Residence. To learn more about Michael and his next projects visit his website at or connect via Twitter @MichaelFStewart.
Michael is represented by Talcott Notch.



  1. Thank you Sadie and Shannon for your generous reviews! It's really important for me to hear that you related so well to the characters. I wish you good health and happy reading.

  2. Great review, ladies! I love how well crafted this book sounds. I like that it takes mental illness and tackles it with a realistic, and compelling angle. Glad you liked it! :)