"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

12 February 2016

Wolf by Wolf

Graudin, Ryan. Wolf by Wolf. Little, Brown BYR, 2015.

WWII is over. Hitler won and has taken over all of Europe and Africa. He has split Asia with Japanese emperor Hirohito, who controls the Pacific. North and South America are so insignificant that they are not mentioned in this story. Each year there is a motorcycle race across Europe, Africa, and Asia, starting at Berlin and ending at Tokyo. Ten youths from Hitler's empire and ten from the Japanese empire compete for the trophy. Yael is a concentration camp survivor who has the ability to skin-shift; she can change her appearance so she looks like anyone else. Yael is determined to enter the race, win it, and earn a dance with Hitler at the Victor's Ball, where she will assassinate him.

Wow. That's about all I can say. It was so frustrating to have to put this book down so that I could work, sleep, eat, etc. The story is compelling and switches back and forth between Yael's past in the concentration camp and her current story as she attempts to survive a grueling international race. There's sabotage, back-stabbing, more sabotage, kidnapping, and of course the ultimate goal of Yael being able to get close enough to Hitler to kill him. I should have anticipated the ending, but I didn't, and I loved the surprise.

My only small objection to this story is that it falls into the category of "books about a girl who has special powers and is the only one who can save her society from falling into ruin" a la The Hunger Games or Divergent. The alternate history angle is a good one, though, and it was well worth reading. Recommended.

Recommended for: teens, tweens
Red Flags: German and Japanese profanity (mild), riders sabotage each other by drugging food/drink and by breaking their motorcycles, the main character is attempting to kill Hitler
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Read-Alikes: The Hunger Games, Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly, The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi

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