Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Review by Lauren
source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, they host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The prize? An audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball in Tokyo.
Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele's twin brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move.
Review: With Halloween tomorrow, I thought this was a great time to share my thoughts on Graudin's latest novel. This is the first book in what I believe will be a duology, but it does a fantastic job not only setting things up but giving us a complete story of intrigue, deceit, and suspense.
Yael used to be in a death camp when she was younger, where a doctor took notice of her and began to experiment with a way to create the look of an Aryan in a non-Aryan. What the doctor did not realize is that while Yael's looks began to change, she could also change her own looks by will as long as she knew who she was trying to impersonate. It's not long into the book when you learn about Yael's skin-shifting (plus, it's mentioned in the summary) so hopefully this won't be viewed as a spoiler for those of you reading. There is a lot more to the skin shifting throughout the book that you'll have to read to find out about!
I loved the idea of the motorcycle race and I was definitely worried about Yael keeping her secret of being someone else with two boys seemingly knowing more about Adele than Yael does. Yael studied all she could about being Adele, but there are some things only certain people could have filled Yael in on and now she has to navigate these secrets while staying alive. It's a treacherous road these racers are on and you start to care about more than Yael and hope that they will make it through and start to fight for the resistance. Hitler needs to be stopped and Yael hopes to be the light that sparks the revolution - if all goes to plan.
Wolf By Wolf is an imaginative re-imagining of history that is terrifying to think about but as Ryan Graudin states in the Author's Note at the end, at a point in time, this was our history.