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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Láilá is very different from all the other children who live in Nuorgam on the banks of the Karasjohka River in the northern part of Finnish Lapland. Her father, Axsel, is a fisherman. Her mother, Arinví, used to be a teacher before the stork brought Láilá to them, or so the story goes that they share with Láilá over and over again. But Láilá is different and she feels different. Even the children at school tease and torment her, telling her that she is very different and not one of them. Láilá feels more at home with the Arctic wildlife and the northern lights, or polar lights, or Aurora. And, it is on one of these nights when the Aurora shines brightest, just after Láilá’s twelfth birthday, that things start to become clearer and Láilá finds herself truly at home. But she is given a mission, one that will save not only her cherished Aurora, but her home world as well.
Dylan Keefer’s novel, Running with Wolves: The Aurora Chronicles, is a classic saga of the north. The author adopts the theme of saving the northern ice fields from melting to create a lavish tale of two worlds, with both worlds dependent on the well-being of Aurora. The description is lavish for both setting and characters and the reader truly feels immersed in a fairy-tale of sorts, but a fairy-tale with a message. While Láilá searches to find her own place in two northern worlds, she also finds a sense of purpose as she further bonds with the wolves and the northern world that she loves so much. This story has the possibility of an enticing series of Aurora adventures.