Title: Wolf By Wolf
Author: Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf By Wolf, #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 20th 2015
Ryan Graudin’s Wolf By Wolf is a daring reimagining of our world’s history. In this alternate universe, Hitler and his allies have successfully conquered much of Europe and Asia, as well as the northern portion of Africa. The rest of the world has buckled under pressure, choosing peace over war, agreeing to a truce with the notorious leader. Those opposed to the New Order have been forced underground, working in secret, biding their time. With the annual Axis Tour, a motorcycle race that spans continents, soon underway, the resistance is ready to make its move and at the center of their plan is Yael. As a child Yael and her mother were imprisoned at a death camp, where she was subjected to various scientific experiments. The goal behind these experiments: to find a way to perfect the Aryan race by suppressing the melanin in a person’s system, thereby controlling their hair, eye, and skin color. Unbeknownst to the doctor in charge of these speculative trials, Yael developed the ability to “skinshift,” to alter her own appearance into the likes of another.
As Yael begins her mission, to impersonate former Axis Tour Victor Adele Wolfe, her resolve to take down Hitler is stronger than ever. Yael has lost everyone important to her and has been stripped of her own identity through the experimentation she endured as a child. Though she is full of anger and retribution, she recognizes that this mission’s success has the potential to become a catalyst, a spark that will signal a revolution that could give way to a better future for the world. She knows how much depends on her being able to masquerade as someone else. This scheme puts in her in a precarious situation, where every word, look, or action threatens to expose her. This is made even more dangerous by the presence of Adele Wolfe’s twin brother Felix and former competitor Luka Löwe. Both know more about Adele than Yael, and both challenge her view of what she has learned on paper about each. Yael is a determined character, but what sets her apart is, despite the injustices done to her, there remains a part of her who refuses to become like those she hates.
Wolf By Wolf is as terrifying as it is fascinating. Graudin’s world explores crimes by Nazi Germany that are rarely explored: human experimentation, as well as envisioning a different history that is frightening in its plausibility. Graudin’s novel is heartbreaking, thrilling, and near perfect in execution, whose impact will be felt long after finishing.