You must sign in to see if this title is available for request. Sign In or Register Now
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date Jul 16 2024 | Archive Date Jul 16 2024
Charlesbridge | Charlesbridge Moves

Talking about this book? Use #Hum #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


A chance encounter with an old llama astonishingly reveals a language Allen didn’t know he could speak in this captivating and one-of-a-kind middle-grade novel.

Eleven-year-old Allen has a recurring nightmare, a persistent habit of humming, and difficulty connecting with other people. Making a fresh start, he and his grandmother move to a small village in northern New York. But when he meets an old llama at a winter festival, the encounter reveals a language he didn’t know he could speak and unveils repressed memories that contradict what he has long believed about his earliest years and his parents’ deaths.

When the llama’s life is threatened, Allen vows to free it. Together they begin a desperate trek through a snowy wilderness, a journey on which Allen must wrestle with lies about his past while struggling against the elements to survive.
A chance encounter with an old llama astonishingly reveals a language Allen didn’t know he could speak in this captivating and one-of-a-kind middle-grade novel.

Eleven-year-old Allen has a recurring...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781732213722
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 11 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book.

I have a hard time with talking animals. I want to move past it, but it's so implausible that I struggle. I knew Allen talked to a llama in this one, and I was apprehensive. Plainly put, I loved this book. It was so well done. I loved it all, even the llama. I look forward to more by this author and can't wait to share it with my studens.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this wonderful story. Allen is trying to adjust to his new home where he and grandmother have moved to hopefully help him make more social connections. He meets Max, an older girl in his school who is assigned as his mentor. After meeting a llama at a holiday fair, memories start to come back to him and he realizes that things are not as he has been told.

Was this review helpful?

When you're from upstate NY and you about a story set in upstate NY, written by someone who lives in (kind of) Upstate NY, it's an instant win. And then when you dive into the story that has themes of family, found family, human and animal connection, mystery/suspense, and dealing with trauma, it's A HUGE win. I couldn't put this book down; the quick chapters make it accessible for younger readers and the balance of lightheartedness and seriousness engulfs the reader. While of course I love the main character, Allen, I really really felt a deep connection to his grandmother and his mentor, Max. They were both just so real; they could have come from my life! I was a bit turned off at first with the magical realism AND I"m not really sure if communicating with animals is really magical realism; I do think some people have that gift. This book left me thinking about that days after I finished it...and I really want a llama now!

Definitely recommend for middle grade readers AND those who love middle grade stories....especially if you're from upstate NY!

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely loved this adventure about Allen moving to the north with gramma (parents have been gone eight years) because she’s hoping he’ll make connections. Allen loves humming and when Bridie hears it she tells him she likes his humming. Allen meets Zach and he thinks he likes these new friends, Allen wonders why he keeps having recurring nightmares and wonders if gramma has told him the truth about what happened to his parents. When Max, his mentor, takes him to a winter carnival he sees a llama, Yana, and Allen realizes he can understand what the llama is say from the humming. Allen can see his parents when Yana hums. What does it mean? Allen wonders how could I hum all this time not knowing it was llama language? When Allen finds out Yana was sold to a bad man, he steals Yana and takes her to the mountains. What happens then?

Was this review helpful?

This was a really interesting concept for a magical fiction book, it had everything that I was looking for. I enjoyed that the llama was the talking animal and that it was used in a cool way. I enjoyed the way the fantasy elements worked with the story and how the characters were everything that I was looking for. William David Thomas has a great writing style and left me wanting more from him.

Was this review helpful?

This was a different one, outside of the box but at the same time a call to some nature/survival classics we grew up with. It was an interesting grief story but with a fresh take on all usual elements. Easy to read, not too long, this standalone is a journey of memory and coming of age of one who must face the ghosts of trauma and trek the right path for his future.
The author created tension by limiting the technological resources of the characters, no phone reception, no way to ask for help added to winter weather, inexperience to hike aggravating the survival conditions. But even risking his life, he doesn't quit trying to save Yana. I love the idea of a boy speaking with the llama.
Themes: loss of parents, dealing with sadness, isolation, lack of friends, lack of belonging then finding a place to call home, finding new friends, fighting for truth, justice and what is right. Bullying (as kids and adults). Call to nature with awesome quotes and mention to Shakespeare quotes as well for wisdom.
Alopecia representation.
I am.glad the author added that epilogue.

Thank you netgalley and publisher for this e-arc.

Was this review helpful?

This was a very well written and engaging young adult novel, the main character was likable and quickly had you rooting for them. And who doesn't like a llama???

Was this review helpful?

I felt this was a good story.
It started a bit slow to me. I felt it needed more in the beginning to get to know the boy and his connections. I did love the dream. The fears kids have as well as adults. I also liked his journey to a new place. The magic was great! Talking animals helping kids is a great premise whether is magical or not. I was more engaged towards the end. I say give this title a try.

Was this review helpful?

Spellbinding. This book was instantly engaging and held my attention throughout. There is great character development, lots of suspense and tension, disability representation, and there's even a fun sprinkling of Shakespeare quotes.

At its core, this is a book about self-discovery—learning how to embrace what you have and let go of what you don't, whether it's the small things, like cell phones, or world shattering things, like the death of parents.

A beautiful, moving, tearjerker of a read.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: