I picked this book up after a I spent a good few months not reading at all. I had entered a reading slump and my typical contemporary young adult books just didn’t seem to tick all the boxes for me anymore. I came across Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin when it was recommended by a you-tuber I watched and for a while it was simply gathering dust on my bookshelf. Historical fiction, like crime, is a genre I had never really delved into, with the exception of The Book Thief.
Like many books I have read, what drew me into picking up this book were two things: a kick-ass female protagonist and a resistance. As a huge fan of franchises like Star Wars, the idea of the novels story being surrounded by the hope of a resistance was exciting to me. Having the limited education of the Second World War of a few lessons in secondary school, Wolf by Wolf delved into a different area that I knew little about: the experiments that German doctors would perform on the prisoners. I felt like Wolf by Wolf was a natural transition into the historical fiction for me because Yael, the protagonist, was a shape-shifter, bringing in that beloved fantasy element into the story.
Wolf by Wolf was utterly and indubitably engaging. For a novel where the protagonist spends the majority of the time driving, Graudin was completely successful in sustaining my interest in Yael’s fate and if she actually manages to kill Hitler! Another thing that impressed me about this book was how the romantic subplot was not overpowering, something that other young adult books – for me – have fallen victim too. This does not mean there was no romance in the novel (the rocky relationship between Yael and fellow rider Luka was curious as well as stimulating), but Yael’s impulsive attraction towards the boy did not cause her to deviate from her original mission. Hooray for strong women! 🙂
Without spoiling too much, when I finished this book I was initially disappointed. It ended on those kind of cliff-hangers where the goal was achieved, but not in the way that it was planned… Then I thankfully discovered that there is a sequel!! I have many other books that have been sitting on my shelf for too long, but I will definitely be revisiting Graudin’s work again!
I give Wolf by Wolf a solid 5/5 stars!!