# of pages: 388
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Title: Wolf by Wolf
Author: Ryan Graudin
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, they host an annual motorbike race across their combined continents. The prize? An audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.
Yael has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost when she was a prisoner in a brutal concentration camp. Now part of the resistance, Yael has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. But the only way to enter the race is to impersonate last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. Yael is a master of deception but there are two other competitors it may be impossible to fool – Adele’s brother, Felix, and Luka, a boy she clearly has history with.
But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and stay true to her mission? The future on the world is depending on her . . .
“The world is wrong. I’m just doing my part to fix it.”
I’m usually not a fan of historical fiction, and I could count the number of books from this genre that I actually liked on one hand. However, I had really high hopes for Wolf by Wolf.
The premise sounded so interesting. It follows main character Yael, a former death camp prisoner, in a world in which the Axis powers won World War II. While she was at the death camp, Yael was a human subject and had many chemicals injected in her as an experiment. Now, she has a secret. As a result of that testing, Yael is able to skinshift and change her appearance. Now, Yael is on a mission to kill Hitler. The only way she can do that is by joining a race in which the winner gets to meet him.
Honestly, my biggest problem with this book was it was sooo boring. The plot was very linear, and for the most part nothing dramatic really happened. The only parts I thought were even a little interesting were the past chapters that were about how Yael got her skinshifting abilities. I did like the chapters where Yael was learning more about her powers and training to get stronger and better. BUT, the majority of the book followed the race and players would sometime sabotage each other, but I thought the points of conflict were all too easily resolved. 😳 There was even one scene where the racers get captured by a group, and I really thought that would be like a turning point in the book. However, the main character just talked to the leader of the group who captured them and he just…let them go? Like…okay. It didn’t really make sense to me and I wish I could understand why so many people love Wolf by Wolf, but it just was not for me unfortunately.
There were a few “twists” here and there but they were pretty anticlimactic and got resolved quite easily. And, the big plot twist at the end was really not surprising to me and I found it to be quite predictable.
ALSO, the character development was…not there. I didn’t care for anyone except for Felix, and that was just because I really felt for him 🥺. Even Yael was so straight forward and her character had no depth at all. There were a few other side characters and a love interest, but none of them were brought up enough in the book to have any impact on the readers. I thought Yael would form a closer bond with the only other female racer in the competition, but they hardly even had a conversation. I just feel like this book could have been sooo much more and it just barely scratched the surface of all the character dynamics and potential plot points that could’ve happened.
All that being said, I *might* pick up the next book because I’m hopeful it’ll be better and I am interested to see where the story goes. I still stand by what I said earlier about the concept of Wolf by Wolf being intriguing, and I think there’s a lot that the author can do with it so hopefully we’ll be able to see more depth in the characters and a more action-packed plot!
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars
What was the last book that disappointed you? Let me know in the comments!