Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
To be published: Oct 6, 2015
Yael was a six-year-old girl when she was sent to a concentration camp with her mother. A Dr. Mengele like figure takes her to be part of his experiments, and she gains the ability to change her face into any other female she sees. She uses this ability to escape the camp and eventually joins up with the Resistance. The book is set in 1956 in an alternative universe where Germany and Japan won WWII and the Reich stretches pretty much all over the globe. Every year in celebration of their victory and the power of the two countries, they have a motorcycle race from Germany to Japan with their twenty strongest competitors. The Resistance has recruited her to become Adele Wolfe, the female victor of last year’s race, who got a dance with Adolf Hitler. She plans to assassinate Hitler and start up a revolution against the Reich. But this is no ordinary race and Yael has to deal with not only Adele’s twin brother Felix who joined the race at the last minute, but also a host of young men who are out for blood, and a possible romantic connection with another of the racers named Luka. You just have to read this amazing story! Highly recommended for ages 15+, 5 stars.
I couldn’t put this book down because it had a very interesting concept. I mean tons of people do alternative history, especially what would have happened if the Germans won World War II, but this has that little twist in Yael’s character is just so original. On one hand, she’s bad-ass skin-changer who can fight and hold her own in an almost all-male incredibly aggressive motorcycle race. On the the other hand, she is so incredibly fragile and completely alone in the world (although no one can see this part of her). The wolf tattoo stories are incredibly fascinating and helped create a fuller richer glimpse at her life and how she became the person she is now. I thought it was also one hell of a creative way to cover up a Holocaust tattoo as well. One of the annoying parts of the book for me was the gratuitous use of the word “Scheisse,” which I know because my mother, who never curses, uses this one swear word in German after being stationed there in the Air Force when I was born. The ending was a bit of a surprise as the author managed to keep it secret to the very end, but set the stage perfectly for the follow-up book which doesn’t come out until Fall 2016. I will definitely be looking out for the next book in the series!
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.