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The Wolf's Curse

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"The path ahead isn't easy. It will be filled with darkness and despair, and you will almost certainly regret your decision, just as I regret mine." ~Narrator, The Wolf's Curse Twelve-year-old Gauge’s life has been cursed since the day he witnessed a Great White Wolf steal his grandpapá’s soul, preventing it from reaching the Sea-in-the-Sky and sailing into eternity. When th "The path ahead isn't easy. It will be filled with darkness and despair, and you will almost certainly regret your decision, just as I regret mine." ~Narrator, The Wolf's Curse Twelve-year-old Gauge’s life has been cursed since the day he witnessed a Great White Wolf steal his grandpapá’s soul, preventing it from reaching the Sea-in-the-Sky and sailing into eternity. When the superstitious residents of Bouge-by-the-Sea accuse the boy of crying wolf, he joins forces with another orphan to prove his innocence. They navigate their shared grief in a journey that ultimately reveals life-changing truths about the wolf––and death. Narrated in a voice reminiscent of The Book Thief and Lemony Snicket, this fast-paced adventure is perfect for fans of literary fiction fantasy such as A Wish in the Dark and The Girl Who Drank the Moon.


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"The path ahead isn't easy. It will be filled with darkness and despair, and you will almost certainly regret your decision, just as I regret mine." ~Narrator, The Wolf's Curse Twelve-year-old Gauge’s life has been cursed since the day he witnessed a Great White Wolf steal his grandpapá’s soul, preventing it from reaching the Sea-in-the-Sky and sailing into eternity. When th "The path ahead isn't easy. It will be filled with darkness and despair, and you will almost certainly regret your decision, just as I regret mine." ~Narrator, The Wolf's Curse Twelve-year-old Gauge’s life has been cursed since the day he witnessed a Great White Wolf steal his grandpapá’s soul, preventing it from reaching the Sea-in-the-Sky and sailing into eternity. When the superstitious residents of Bouge-by-the-Sea accuse the boy of crying wolf, he joins forces with another orphan to prove his innocence. They navigate their shared grief in a journey that ultimately reveals life-changing truths about the wolf––and death. Narrated in a voice reminiscent of The Book Thief and Lemony Snicket, this fast-paced adventure is perfect for fans of literary fiction fantasy such as A Wish in the Dark and The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

30 review for The Wolf's Curse

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Vitalis

    Writing this book was pure joy. While tackling grief in a middle grade novel is always a delicate balancing act, the fantastical mythology, snarky narrator, and sweet friendship that came to life on the pages captured my heart, as I hope it will yours. Happy reading!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin Kelly

    I’ve read a draft of this book. It’s phenomenal!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Toronto Bibliophile

    Just finished reading THE WOLF'S CURSE by Jessica Vitalis. Thank you to Harper Collins Canada via Netgalley for my ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. Official publication date is September 21st, 2021. I fell in love with the characters 🤗 Gauge our 12 year old MC has been cursed with being able to see a wolf in a superstitious town where seeing a wolf means you are extremely bad luck and are ostracized from society. When Gauge's grandpa dies he is left all alone with no place and no one to Just finished reading THE WOLF'S CURSE by Jessica Vitalis. Thank you to Harper Collins Canada via Netgalley for my ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. Official publication date is September 21st, 2021. I fell in love with the characters 🤗 Gauge our 12 year old MC has been cursed with being able to see a wolf in a superstitious town where seeing a wolf means you are extremely bad luck and are ostracized from society. When Gauge's grandpa dies he is left all alone with no place and no one to turn to, until he meets an new friend who is going through a similar experience. They will join forces to figure out why only Gauge can see the wolf and what seeing it really means? A fast paced story for those looking for a standalone fantasy, with characters to root for. This is a story about loss, death, and friendship that you won't be able to put down. Definitely recommend and look forward to future work by Vitalis!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Juliana Brandt

    I was lucky enough to read a version of this story while it was being edited, and I have to say it was nothing short of breathtaking. This is a story after which I felt changed, altered in some fundamental way. I read it at a time when I needed an escape, but more than that, when I needed insight and clarity into the world and into myself. The emotional resonance I felt after reading The Wolf's Curse was precisely what I needed when I had it, and I'm so grateful to the author for allowing me that I was lucky enough to read a version of this story while it was being edited, and I have to say it was nothing short of breathtaking. This is a story after which I felt changed, altered in some fundamental way. I read it at a time when I needed an escape, but more than that, when I needed insight and clarity into the world and into myself. The emotional resonance I felt after reading The Wolf's Curse was precisely what I needed when I had it, and I'm so grateful to the author for allowing me that. It's deftly written and beautifully built. I'm a sucker for Wolf stories, and this is the best of them, with the wolf playing a role of multitudes. I will greatly look forward to reading the completed book when it releases and will post a more in-depth review then!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fanna

    August 21, 2020: MG? Revenge? wolf takes grandpa? AH, need.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Dulaney

    Jessica Vitalis’ debut novel takes readers to another time and place where hard-working villagers scrape out an existence and build their homes on the cliffs and shores, knowing that one day, they will “set sail” and their spirits reach the Sea-in-the-Sky. Gauge’s grandfather is the town’s master Carpenter and hopes that his grandson’s talents will allow him to take over the shop when it is his turn to set sail, but superstition may not allow that to happen. Gauge can see the dreaded Wolf that t Jessica Vitalis’ debut novel takes readers to another time and place where hard-working villagers scrape out an existence and build their homes on the cliffs and shores, knowing that one day, they will “set sail” and their spirits reach the Sea-in-the-Sky. Gauge’s grandfather is the town’s master Carpenter and hopes that his grandson’s talents will allow him to take over the shop when it is his turn to set sail, but superstition may not allow that to happen. Gauge can see the dreaded Wolf that the people believe haunts their town and that ability to see it has the boy labeled a Voyant which is usually a death sentence. Fate has allowed the boy to live, but now the shop is idle, poverty worsens and Grandfather is dying. The Wolf narrates this tale as she tries to persuade Gauge to accept a proposition that should save them both and doggedly follows the boy as he strives to deal with his grief, avoid arrest and execution, and finds a friend. Readers of books such as The Girl Who Drank the Moon and the Wolf of Cape Fen will be thrilled to discover this new slightly creepy fairy tale with a touch of adventure and a large dollop of fantasy. Thanks for sharing this ARC with #BookAllies, Harper Collins.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kate Foster

    This book is so beautiful I have no idea where to start with this review. It's original, lyrical, smart, and magical. As a lucky early reader, I feel honoured, and compelled to tell you all to buy, borrow, or beg for a copy. You won't be disappointed. This book is so beautiful I have no idea where to start with this review. It's original, lyrical, smart, and magical. As a lucky early reader, I feel honoured, and compelled to tell you all to buy, borrow, or beg for a copy. You won't be disappointed.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alysa

    This fantastical tale of love, death, grief and the rituals we create to keep us tethered to life amid loss is wrapped up in an exciting adventure. Set in a wholly unique world, and told from a unique and very well executed POV, THE WOLF’S CURSE is a rich and heart affirming book. With multiple layers of meaning this is a story readers can come back to time and time again and keep finding new meaning and insight. Highly recommend for upper Mg readers. Thank you to Greenwillow/HarperCollins and N This fantastical tale of love, death, grief and the rituals we create to keep us tethered to life amid loss is wrapped up in an exciting adventure. Set in a wholly unique world, and told from a unique and very well executed POV, THE WOLF’S CURSE is a rich and heart affirming book. With multiple layers of meaning this is a story readers can come back to time and time again and keep finding new meaning and insight. Highly recommend for upper Mg readers. Thank you to Greenwillow/HarperCollins and NetGalley for the Arc

  9. 4 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    Huge thanks to Books Forward for the review copy! Gauge has always seen the Wolf and the Wolf has always seen him. Awarded the role of Death's courier, the Wolf seeks out another who will someday assume the role. But Gauge is less than willing. After the death of his grandfather, the entire village seems to turn against him, thinking him cursed. Now in hiding, Gauge teams up with another orphan who seems to be the only one not out to get him. Together, they navigate their grief as they figure out Huge thanks to Books Forward for the review copy! Gauge has always seen the Wolf and the Wolf has always seen him. Awarded the role of Death's courier, the Wolf seeks out another who will someday assume the role. But Gauge is less than willing. After the death of his grandfather, the entire village seems to turn against him, thinking him cursed. Now in hiding, Gauge teams up with another orphan who seems to be the only one not out to get him. Together, they navigate their grief as they figure out a way to prove Gauge's innocence. Jessica Vitalis's debut middle-grade novel took me by surprise. Behind this gorgeous cover is more than a story about a boy finding his place in the world, but also a deep dive into grief, hope, and friendship. The thing I absolutely loved about this book was that it was told entirely from Wolf's perspective. Now, I have not read The Book Thief (I know, I know. I'm a bad bookworm) but I do know that it's told from Death's perspective. The author drew inspiration from said book and weaved a magical tale perfect for younger readers. Wolf's snarky monologue will make readers laugh. Her character development is on par with Gauge's and I just love how their stories interconnect. I am so glad to have read this book. I know I will hold onto it for my son to read when he gets a bit older. I think he will appreciate the author's gentle hand with the topics of death and grief as well as the humor that balances out the perfection of the plot. I wish there was a book around like this when I was growing up.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Morrell

    Such a powerful book! This is the first time I ever wanted two opposing forces to win. This fantasy book will have you in tears, especially if you miss someone who's no longer with us. Such a powerful book! This is the first time I ever wanted two opposing forces to win. This fantasy book will have you in tears, especially if you miss someone who's no longer with us.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    THE WOLF'S CURSE is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time. It did what the best stories do... it left me with a sense of wonder, reverence, and gratitude for our shared humanity. Jessica Vitalis' world building is extraordinary, from the vocabulary (pantaloons and damselfish) to the mythology built up around death, loss, and grieving (death is referred to as 'setting sail') to the pronunciation footnotes (there are pronunciation footnotes!) to the narrative voice (oh how I love nar THE WOLF'S CURSE is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time. It did what the best stories do... it left me with a sense of wonder, reverence, and gratitude for our shared humanity. Jessica Vitalis' world building is extraordinary, from the vocabulary (pantaloons and damselfish) to the mythology built up around death, loss, and grieving (death is referred to as 'setting sail') to the pronunciation footnotes (there are pronunciation footnotes!) to the narrative voice (oh how I love narrative interjection, and this novel is gorgeously replete with it). Gauge's world (the wolf's world) is rich and visceral and fantastical, but also wholly real and familiar, because it's the world we all inhabit. It's a world where managing and making sense of loss and grief is a burden we all shoulder. A breathtakingly beautiful read. My warmest thanks to Jessica Vitalis, Greenwillow Books, and Edelweiss for the eARC.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ☆ BON ☆

    WELL! This was...absolutely unlike any younger audience book I've read. Usually this sort of intense plot is in more adult fantasy, and it was fascinating to see it put to work well in a time where kids need to accept that death is all around us. This was a really interesting story. I'd kind of place it between middle grade and YA, and its centerpiece of grief and mourning, how we rail against death, was a timely message. I burned through the audiobook in one day and it was paced well and enjoya WELL! This was...absolutely unlike any younger audience book I've read. Usually this sort of intense plot is in more adult fantasy, and it was fascinating to see it put to work well in a time where kids need to accept that death is all around us. This was a really interesting story. I'd kind of place it between middle grade and YA, and its centerpiece of grief and mourning, how we rail against death, was a timely message. I burned through the audiobook in one day and it was paced well and enjoyable, with a plot unique to the younger audience world, I think. A very self-contained story and world, taking place really within one small town despite the tension of the plot. We meet a boy marked to take up the role of the wolf, which is a being that is something between a reaper and Charon of mythology, ferrying souls after death. But he's under a misconception, that the wolf kills people and steals the souls, and that forms the foundation of tension throughout the book. The wolf narrates, which was an excellent POV choice, and the boy spends the book fleeing the wolf as well as the authorities, for being what he is. The imagery was really cool, of this wolf wandering around and grabbing souls reluctant to leave the mortal realm in its jaws to pry them from their corpses. In that regard it was also rather grim and sad and heavy at times. The wolf has her own sad story from before she took up the role, 700 years before, so our narrator is not an inhuman spiritual predator, and I liked that too. The message of being brave and confronting death, that we all have an end and some are given a good long time before theirs, and others not, was so incredibly timely as we live through a historic pandemic. There were things like funeral costs even mentioned. I like that it acknowledged the debt and baggage, both monetary and emotional, that we are left with after someone passes. The cover is also gorgeous. Taking everything into account, I have zero criticism, and it gets five stars.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Luie Kluck

    This ARC was provided to me by Book Forward Friends in association with HarperCollins Publishers through the Netgalley website, thank you so much! ••••••••••••••••••••••••📜•••••••••••••••••••••••• 𝐖𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 - 5/5⭐ 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬 - 5/5⭐ 𝐏𝐥𝐨𝐭 - 5/5⭐ 𝐄𝐧𝐣𝐨𝐲𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 - 5/5⭐ 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝-𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 - 5/5⭐ 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐠𝐞𝐫 𝐖𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬: Death (of a loved one), Self-harm, Alcohol (mentioned), Hallucinations (magic), Police brutality, Terminal illness, Corpse, Religious persecution. ••••••••••••••••••••••••📜•••••••••••••••••••••••• The Wolf's Cu This ARC was provided to me by Book Forward Friends in association with HarperCollins Publishers through the Netgalley website, thank you so much! ••••••••••••••••••••••••📜•••••••••••••••••••••••• 𝐖𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 - 5/5⭐ 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬 - 5/5⭐ 𝐏𝐥𝐨𝐭 - 5/5⭐ 𝐄𝐧𝐣𝐨𝐲𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 - 5/5⭐ 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝-𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 - 5/5⭐ 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐠𝐞𝐫 𝐖𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬: Death (of a loved one), Self-harm, Alcohol (mentioned), Hallucinations (magic), Police brutality, Terminal illness, Corpse, Religious persecution. ••••••••••••••••••••••••📜•••••••••••••••••••••••• The Wolf's Curse by Jessica Vitalis follows Gauge, a 12-year-old boy whose life got upended when a Great White Wolf stole his grandpapá's soul before it could reach the Sea-in-the-Sky, the afterlife where the dead sail for eternity. He lives in the superstitious village of Bouge-by-the-Sea, where people believe the Wolf is the bringer of death. When the villagers accuse him of calling the Wolf, Gauge has no choice but to seek an alliance with Roux, another orphan, to prove his innocence. In their journey, they reveal astounding truths about death and the Wolf, all the while facing their grief. The writing style was the first thing I noticed in this novel. It resembles The Book Thief and Lemony Snicket, with interludes and inputs from the narrator. It takes a couple of chapters to get used to since the initial inputs feel unnecessary. However, it creates a unique and personal narration in which the reader slowly gets to know the main character and the narrator. Their relationship is also thoroughly explored in this omniscient but personal narration style. It is emotionally complex and wholly developed, with exceptional character development as well. Said development rests upon the grief they share, their loss of someone loved, and how they learned to grow and move past the pain. That is what makes the ending well-developed and consistent, demonstrating how their pain and growth resulted in the perfect conclusion for their story. This novel was one of the best Wolf stories I've ever read. It makes use of the idiom "to cry wolf" as a base for a breathtaking and diverse world-building. The superstitions and customs of this country get thorough descriptions that are detailed but not overwhelmingly informative. Nevertheless, such superstitions never alluded to racism or sexism, separating tradition and ignorance from outright prejudice, an important distinction to make in a middle-grade novel. Additionally, the different countries in this world have various beliefs, defined as simply distinct realities where things work differently and not as abnormal behaviors that should be feared or despised. The Wolf's Curse is a breathtaking and life-changing story, fast-paced and inciting, impossible to put down, and everything a middle-grade fantasy book should be.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Terry Jennings

    The Wolf’s Curse is a story told from the point of view of death’s acolyte, the wolf who was once human and has, for seven hundred years, transported souls to the after life. The Wolf’s Curse grabbed me in the first page and didn’t let me go. The world that Jessica Vitalis weaves is all encompassing, down to, or maybe up to, the rites and beliefs around death. We need those rites. Every society needs them. And they can be exploited because that is the time that, grief stricken, we are most vulne The Wolf’s Curse is a story told from the point of view of death’s acolyte, the wolf who was once human and has, for seven hundred years, transported souls to the after life. The Wolf’s Curse grabbed me in the first page and didn’t let me go. The world that Jessica Vitalis weaves is all encompassing, down to, or maybe up to, the rites and beliefs around death. We need those rites. Every society needs them. And they can be exploited because that is the time that, grief stricken, we are most vulnerable. The wolf fixes his sights on young Gauge, at the time that Gauge’s grandfather dies, to take his place as soul transporter, so he can retire. Gauge faces the dual threat of the rest of the townsfolk who think he is bewitched because he can see the wolf and the wolf’s plans for his future. The question with me the whole time I was reading was how will she end it in a way that’s realistic and satisfactory. I shouldn’t have worried. I couldn't put it down.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Lesperance

    This is an absolutely gorgeous book. It's told from the perspective of an enchanted wolf whose job it is to help souls cross over to the afterlife. The wolf is wry and charming, a perfect cozy narrator. She tells the story of Gauge, who is an outcast in his village because he can see her but no one else can. As Gauge struggles with his grief and his search for love and acceptance, you'll find yourself totally wrapped up in this fantastical world. It's a deep reflection on death, but handled in s This is an absolutely gorgeous book. It's told from the perspective of an enchanted wolf whose job it is to help souls cross over to the afterlife. The wolf is wry and charming, a perfect cozy narrator. She tells the story of Gauge, who is an outcast in his village because he can see her but no one else can. As Gauge struggles with his grief and his search for love and acceptance, you'll find yourself totally wrapped up in this fantastical world. It's a deep reflection on death, but handled in such a sensitive and gentle way. The characters are vibrant and emotional and earnest, the worldbuilding is lush and immersive, and the storyline is super unique. Perfect for middle-grade readers, and frankly grown-ups too!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Job Salamanca

    Thanks so much to Books Forward PR, HarperCollins and Jessica Vitalis for this eARC 🥰 One of my goals this year was to read more MG books and this one just ticks all of the boxes. It’s a little darker than I thought I would get but it’s a real unique take. It’s a short book but its intensity and the unorthodox narration really gave me life! I just remembered that this is a debut novel and I truly commend the author for taking me in a whole other world with this piece.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rafael Andrade

    Gauge, a gifted child, sees his life change drastically with the passing of his grandfather and the ability to see a wolf whose responsibility is to guide the souls of the recently deceased to the beyond. Our hero finds out that he is a voyant, a person who can see supernatural phenomena. Accused of witchcraft, Gauge along with his new friend will have to run against time to prove his innocence. But the wolf has a different plan for the boy, and its intentions become clear with the turning of th Gauge, a gifted child, sees his life change drastically with the passing of his grandfather and the ability to see a wolf whose responsibility is to guide the souls of the recently deceased to the beyond. Our hero finds out that he is a voyant, a person who can see supernatural phenomena. Accused of witchcraft, Gauge along with his new friend will have to run against time to prove his innocence. But the wolf has a different plan for the boy, and its intentions become clear with the turning of the pages. Narrated by the sly, crafty Wolf, Jessica Vitalis’s debut novel is a vivid and literary tale about family, friendship, belonging, and grief. The Wolf’s Curse will captivate readers of Laurel Snyder’s Orphan Island and Molly Knox Ostertag’s The Witch Boy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    I'm so glad that I was trusted with a digital copy of this book. Thank you BFF Books and NetGalley for giving me amazing book! When I first heard that the story would be told by the wolf itself - who refuses to acknowledge, that in some ways, she is the 'villain' - I couldn't help but be very excited to read it. I don't think I've ever read a book whose story was told by the "villain" instead of the "hero" and it was a pleasant experience, I wish there were more books like this one and I hope tha I'm so glad that I was trusted with a digital copy of this book. Thank you BFF Books and NetGalley for giving me amazing book! When I first heard that the story would be told by the wolf itself - who refuses to acknowledge, that in some ways, she is the 'villain' - I couldn't help but be very excited to read it. I don't think I've ever read a book whose story was told by the "villain" instead of the "hero" and it was a pleasant experience, I wish there were more books like this one and I hope that the author writes a sequel - which I'd definitely read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Candice

    I read an ARC of this book in 2.5 hours. It was beautiful, breathtaking, and depicted grief for young children (12) in what I agree is accurate. The story reminds me of the old myths and legends I read as a child. It’s like revisiting an old comfort, but it’s completely different. The story definitely teaches that trust and friendship come in many ways and so does the protection of a parent or in this case parent and grandparent. It’s a must read!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kanfinae Wingard

    This middle grade tale, a book that someone of any age should read and will enjoy, is about Gauge, a young boy dealing with the death of his grandfather and the grief that goes along with that kind of loss. On top of these unfamiliar emotions, Gauge is ostracized by his community. They believe he has sabotaged the way to the afterlife, the Sea-in-the-Sky. In order to return home and be accepted, he and his friend go on a journey to prove his innocence. Along the way, The Great White Wolf, the div This middle grade tale, a book that someone of any age should read and will enjoy, is about Gauge, a young boy dealing with the death of his grandfather and the grief that goes along with that kind of loss. On top of these unfamiliar emotions, Gauge is ostracized by his community. They believe he has sabotaged the way to the afterlife, the Sea-in-the-Sky. In order to return home and be accepted, he and his friend go on a journey to prove his innocence. Along the way, The Great White Wolf, the divine entity who takes spirits to their final rest, narrates. How wonderful is that? The protagonist of a folk tale narrates the story of a boy who is competing with the real life consequences of a folk tale. It's wonderfully meta! More than that, it is beautifully tragic, lyrical, and instructive. It is a story that children need to hear from a fantastical voice, yes, but also a voice that holds enough authority to be trustworthy. Vitalis paints both life and death as adventures and real places where we can belong. There is nothing to fear here. There is only known and unknown, seen and unseen. It is a gift!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maria Fitzgerald

    The Wolf’s Curse is an unforgettable, beautiful tale about family, true friendship, loss, and grief. I already know I will come back to this book many times, not only for the Wolf’s wisdom, humor, and compassion, but to reconnect with all of the memorable characters Jessica Vitalis has created on the page. I cried, I laughed, AND I was at the edge of my seat. I loved this book from the first line until the very last!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathie

    Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book. THE WOLF’S CURSE is the author’s debut MG novel and tells the story of a young boy ostracized by his community but whose loyalty to a friend puts his own life at risk as he attempts to avenge her father’s death. Written from the perspective of a unique narrator, this story looks at death, loneliness, love, loss, friendship and the collective power of a community for good and evil. The Great White Wolf is the narrator of this story Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book. THE WOLF’S CURSE is the author’s debut MG novel and tells the story of a young boy ostracized by his community but whose loyalty to a friend puts his own life at risk as he attempts to avenge her father’s death. Written from the perspective of a unique narrator, this story looks at death, loneliness, love, loss, friendship and the collective power of a community for good and evil. The Great White Wolf is the narrator of this story. She’s done her job of collecting souls to take to the Woods Beyond for hundreds of years, and she wants to pass along the responsibilities to someone else. Only a Voyant can see her, and when Gauge demonstrates this ability as a child, it frightens the townspeople of Bouge-By-The-Sea. Gauge rarely leaves his grandpapa’s woodshop, but when the Wolf comes to take his grandpapa’s soul after his death, she hopes that he will open Gauge will be open to accepting her job. Instead, Gauge fills with anger, and a bounty on his head forces him to seek shelter with the Blacksmith and his daughter, Roux. Together, Gauge and Roux try to figure out a way for Gauge to escape the town, but another death further complicates their plans. The pair decide to trap and kill the Wolf and expose the secrets about the after-death rituals in the community to clear Gauge’s name. But the Wolf has plans of her own, and Gauge’s life in danger any way he turns. The Wolf was a very clever and original narrator and provided a lot of snarky humour. The perspective allowed the reader to learn more about characters and their situations which enriched the story. I enjoyed watching the change in her connection to Gauge and how that storyline developed. I also loved the relationship between Gauge and Roux and their loyalty to each other. Gauge and Roux’s similar circumstances bond them but also illuminate their different statuses in the community despite their similar economic situations. I appreciated the author demonstrating this disparity and how a lack of understanding and empathy led to the townspeople’s harsh treatment. I think young readers will enjoy this story which feels like historical fiction with a touch of magic. I would recommend it for Gr. 5-7, but the length and heavier nature of the story would suggest it’s best suited for upper middle grade readers.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    This book touched my soul. It's been a week since I finished and I'll be thinking about it for a long time. The titular wolf makes a snarky and compelling narrator (I love her asides) and Gauge is a heart-winning protagonist. I alternated between wanting to gobble the story down in great big gulps and wanting to read slowly and savor it. I can't wait to share this with the fantasy readers that I know when it comes out! Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy of the book. This book touched my soul. It's been a week since I finished and I'll be thinking about it for a long time. The titular wolf makes a snarky and compelling narrator (I love her asides) and Gauge is a heart-winning protagonist. I alternated between wanting to gobble the story down in great big gulps and wanting to read slowly and savor it. I can't wait to share this with the fantasy readers that I know when it comes out! Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy of the book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Schnabel

    I was lucky to read an early version of this story. The breathtaking prose and appeal to the heart are magical.  The wolf's journey and the mythology alluded to add extra depth as do the heart-warming friendships that develop.  A beautiful and deeply thoughtful book for all ages! Highly recommended! I was lucky to read an early version of this story. The breathtaking prose and appeal to the heart are magical.  The wolf's journey and the mythology alluded to add extra depth as do the heart-warming friendships that develop.  A beautiful and deeply thoughtful book for all ages! Highly recommended!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dini - dinipandareads

    I read this book as part of the blog tour hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours. Special thanks to Greenwillow Books for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars rounded up! TL;DR: The Wolf's Curse is a fantastic debut! This story was not at all what I expected and I mean that in the best way because it exceeded my expectations! This was an emotionally wrought and beautifully written debut with a unique narrator's perspective, an engaging plot, and endearing main characte I read this book as part of the blog tour hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours. Special thanks to Greenwillow Books for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars rounded up! TL;DR: The Wolf's Curse is a fantastic debut! This story was not at all what I expected and I mean that in the best way because it exceeded my expectations! This was an emotionally wrought and beautifully written debut with a unique narrator's perspective, an engaging plot, and endearing main characters that you will wholeheartedly root for! Though the story deals with heavy themes, there is light after the dark in this story and it ends on a very hopeful and satisfying note. I'm so excited to see what else Jessica Vitalis writes in the future because I will definitely be happy to read it! I can't believe this was Jessica Vitalis' debut because wow, what a fantastic debut! The story is so well written and immersive and it’s the perfect escapist read, albeit a slightly darker one. Vitalis creates a somewhat charming and simple fantasy world in this bustling seaside village. While the villagers weren't my favourite as they were rather cruel, it wasn't difficult to see how their superstitious belief in the well-developed local folklore about sorcery and magic caused them to live in perpetual fear. It was also easy to picture the mythical Sea-in-the-Sky where departed souls would sail to once they've passed and from where they’d light their lantern at night to watch over those they've left behind. It’s such a beautiful and magic-filled image! I also have to mention my appreciation for the few footnotes on pronunciation—I'm so glad they were included because I would've definitely butchered those words had the guides not existed 😂 The story does get heavier than anticipated even knowing it deals with topics such as death and grief. This is a deeply emotional story and the grief is so big and deep that it feels like not only are the characters drowning in it but you as the reader are swept up in those emotions too. However, just as one of our main characters discovers how there is always light that follows the dark, there is also an uplifting beauty to the darkness of this story. It might be about people so overcome with grief and feelings of anger and guilt, but at the same time, it's about finding ways to deal with loss and learning to find joy in living while still being able to find comfort in the memories of those who are no longer here. I haven’t read The Book Thief or any other book that’s narrated by death, so I found it refreshing that in this story death is a wolf and that wolf is a she. I really enjoyed the wolf’s narration and found her voice to be an entertaining mix of dry wisdom and humorous exasperation, especially at the silliness of humans! I wouldn’t consider her villainous despite what the villagers all think and I actually found it quite easy to sympathise with her once we know about her past and how she came to be the wolf. I really loved the complexity of thoughts and feelings that Vitalis developed in the wolf's character and I also loved how her story intertwines with Gauge's and Roux's story, and how it all came full circle very nicely in the end! Aside from the Wolf, most of the story focuses on Gauge and Roux. Gauge is such a brave young boy and he’s impossible to not root for! My heart ached so much for the sheltered and invisible life he has led and how the villagers treated him because he's a Voyant. The pain he felt at the loss of his grandpapá was so visceral and Vitalis shares some honest and relatable truths about coping with loss and dealing with grief. His emotions cut me as deeply as it did him and I’m not at all ashamed to say this story made me shed a tear or a dozen! 🤷🏻‍♀️ Gauge was simply doing his best to get through each day in a place where he has been shunned for almost his whole life and has been made to feel like he doesn’t belong. But I’m so glad that he found a comforting and understanding friend in Roux, who was also a precious character who suffered a loss in this story. Together they made for a great team who were ready to do whatever it took to reveal the truth. Overall, this was such a refreshing and entertaining read despite the heavy tones of the story. It's a story that will worm its way into your heart while you're reading and it will stay with you long after you're done. I'm so glad that it was put on my radar!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katelynn

    The Wolf's Curse by Jessica Vitalis is pure magic. The way Vitalis approaches subjects like death, grief, found family, tradition, and more is so skilled and invites young readers (and adults) to explore their feelings around these subjects, especially throughout the pandemic. One thing I really loved about this book is the accuracy of how it feels to be a young person in an adult's world. I instantly related to Roux and Gauge and their struggles to discover things adults left out in teaching th The Wolf's Curse by Jessica Vitalis is pure magic. The way Vitalis approaches subjects like death, grief, found family, tradition, and more is so skilled and invites young readers (and adults) to explore their feelings around these subjects, especially throughout the pandemic. One thing I really loved about this book is the accuracy of how it feels to be a young person in an adult's world. I instantly related to Roux and Gauge and their struggles to discover things adults left out in teaching them about the world. There are so many great moments throughout this book where both characters come into their own or stand up for each other, and I think those moments will be super powerful for young readers to read. I thought it was clever of Vitalis to make the Wolf the narrator, and it reminded me a lot of Markus Zusak's The Book Theif. The Wolf being the narrator was such a great choice because young readers get to hear the voice of an adult, an adult who cannot really interfere with Gauge and Roux's feelings, thoughts, and actions, throughout the trials and tribulations of the book. She gives so much insight into the fact that adults are not perfect either but trying their best. I think she also embodied the importance of time and that eternity isn't that grand if you can't spend it with your loved ones. Overall, I thought this book was a fun read full of adventure and thoughtful moments. I know people say this often, but I mean it when I say I did not want this book to end. It was hard to pull myself out of Roux and Gage's world, and I will most likely be rereading this book because there is just so much to think about and explore within its pages. Having been a children's bookseller previously, I have a strong feeling young readers are going to LOVE the sassiness of the Wolf's narration. While kids will find many moments to giggle at, they will also find many moments to grow in their thoughts and feelings. Books like The Wolf's Curse make me feel good knowing kids will have such important stories to grab off bookshelves, and I can't wait for more people to read this wondrous book! Thank you to Greenwillow for sending me an advanced copy of The Wolf's Curse. All of the opinions in this review are my own.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pine Reads Review

    “He can’t afford to drown in self-pity. He has to stay sharp, do what he must to survive.” The Wolf’s Curse is the story of 12-year-old Gauge, a Voyant capable of seeing the Wolf, a mysterious creature who accompanies death. In the superstitious village of Bouge-by-the-Sea, people believe that Voyants have the ability to call and control the Wolf, therefore they must be punished and put to death. Gauge’s life is forever altered when, after the death of his grandpapá, Gauge is accused of calling t “He can’t afford to drown in self-pity. He has to stay sharp, do what he must to survive.” The Wolf’s Curse is the story of 12-year-old Gauge, a Voyant capable of seeing the Wolf, a mysterious creature who accompanies death. In the superstitious village of Bouge-by-the-Sea, people believe that Voyants have the ability to call and control the Wolf, therefore they must be punished and put to death. Gauge’s life is forever altered when, after the death of his grandpapá, Gauge is accused of calling the Wolf. All alone, Gauge reluctantly joins forces with Roux, a clever young girl from his village. While learning to face their grief, the two orphans go on a fantastic adventure to uncover the truth about their town, death, and the Wolf. The Wolf’s Curse is a potent and lyrical story that is both complex, moving, and entertaining. Gauge’s story is told from the omniscient perspective of the Wolf: a snarky but tortured narrator who slowly opens up to the reader. Vitalis does a wonderful job of exploring and developing her characters. This book is especially powerful because the characters are so genuine and relatable. The pain that Gauge and the Wolf experience is raw and honest, and readers of all ages will be able to connect to them. Gauge and the Wolf are not only emotionally complex characters, but the reader sees them learn and grow as the story progresses. The characters’ transformations stem from their shared grief of losing loved ones. The reader is able to see how the Wolf and Gauge move past their losses and experience the growth that allows for a beautiful ending to their story. The Wolf’s Curse really explores the idea of death and grief, and what exactly that looks like for people of all ages. Jessica Vitalis’ novel is a perfect addition to the middle-grade fantasy genre. ​​(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.) Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @pinereadsreview and check out our website at www.pinereadsreview.com for reviews, author interviews, blogs, podcast episodes, and more!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Yesha- Books Teacup and Reviews

    Disclaimer – I received e-copy of this book from the author, as part of blog tour. Many thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours for tour invite and author for review copy. Wolf’s Curse was beautifully written middle grade fantasy that revolved around Twelve-year-old boy who could see the Death and how that changed his life. The story was about death, grief, superstitions, family, friendship, loneliness, and kindness. Writing was mesmerising, spell-binding, vivid, and heartfelt with fast pace. Wolf’s Curse Disclaimer – I received e-copy of this book from the author, as part of blog tour. Many thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours for tour invite and author for review copy. Wolf’s Curse was beautifully written middle grade fantasy that revolved around Twelve-year-old boy who could see the Death and how that changed his life. The story was about death, grief, superstitions, family, friendship, loneliness, and kindness. Writing was mesmerising, spell-binding, vivid, and heartfelt with fast pace. Wolf’s Curse was written in distant third person narration from Wolf’s (death/reaper) perspective which was best part of the book. The narration was inspired from The Book Thief and it sure brought back the feel of death’s narration that I haven’t read in any other book until this one. And I tell you it was really well done. It was genius and it made the style and narration both more original and refreshing. Oh and there were footnotes for pronunciations of words of this world. Characters were amazing. Many characters were introduced as the story progressed and and they all were interesting but Gauge, Roux and the Wolf were the best of all. Kids were most relatable and author perfectly showed what it’s like for kids to be in adults’ world. There wasn’t exactly a character development but development in their grief, the way they learn to accept death, share grief, and get over the pain of losing loved ones. The world was another best part.I loved the way author handled the topic of death and grief. Overall, The Wolf’s Curse was beautiful, atmospheric, touching and well written middle grade fantasy that dealt with heavy topic and complex emotions and yet felt feel good at the end. I highly recommend this if you love, Narration reminiscent of The Book Thief Topic of death and grief unique plot and world layer of superstitions relatable characters kids in the world of adult full review - https://booksteacupreviews.com/2021/0...

  29. 4 out of 5

    NN Aziz

    This middle grades fantasy novel by debut author Jessica Vitalis is a meandering journey about dealing with grief and closure–in a good way. The unique narrator perspective along with the endearing characters make this fast-paced novel a perfect choice for fans of Erin Entrada Kelly. Gauge is a young boy who lives with his grandfather, the carpenter, in a small seaside village when he starts seeing a magical wolf–death. When a life-altering event throws Gauge down a path of adventure and discov This middle grades fantasy novel by debut author Jessica Vitalis is a meandering journey about dealing with grief and closure–in a good way. The unique narrator perspective along with the endearing characters make this fast-paced novel a perfect choice for fans of Erin Entrada Kelly. Gauge is a young boy who lives with his grandfather, the carpenter, in a small seaside village when he starts seeing a magical wolf–death. When a life-altering event throws Gauge down a path of adventure and discovery, his path crosses another young girl in the village. Together, they must face difficult challenges and even more difficult truths. And their path inevitably leads to the wolf. Initially, I had no preconceived notions about this book, nor did I have any previous knowledge of the plot other than it was a middle grades fantasy. The Wolf's Curse is a much more lyrical story with quiet fantasy that explores difficult issues with delicacy and grace. I loved the quirky narrator that has you unexpectedly rooting for the underdog. Jessica Vitalis does a wonderful job of bringing to life the fantastical world wherein Gauge dwells in the same understated yet lyrical prose that is akin to the writing style of Erin Entrada Kelly.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    After losing his beloved grandfather, Gauge is forced to go on the run when the mayor declares he is a voyant and seeks to execute him. Gauge, in fact, is the only one who can see the feared Great Wolf. He eventually meets Rioux and her father, who are not as close-minded as the superstitious townsfolk. They offer concealment, friendship, and help. The Wolf’s Curse embraces a somewhat whimsical tone, coming straight from the Wolf’s perspective. I loved that we saw everything through the Wolf’s ey After losing his beloved grandfather, Gauge is forced to go on the run when the mayor declares he is a voyant and seeks to execute him. Gauge, in fact, is the only one who can see the feared Great Wolf. He eventually meets Rioux and her father, who are not as close-minded as the superstitious townsfolk. They offer concealment, friendship, and help. The Wolf’s Curse embraces a somewhat whimsical tone, coming straight from the Wolf’s perspective. I loved that we saw everything through the Wolf’s eyes. Her snarkiness added flavor as well!. This storytelling method certainly made the narrative seem more magical. I think Jessica Vitalis’s heart in this story was admirable and true. There are some beautiful, touching lines that capture the essence of grief quite well and I do believe using fantasy to help children (as well as adults!) process grief is a wonderful idea. However, I expected something significantly more adventurous. It did not feel as if much happened in this story. There was a great deal of focus on death and grief with very little action. I also didn’t feel enough background information was given into the folklore embraced in the novel. While it added to the suspense of the Wolf’s true purpose, the obscurity made things confusing and I don’t feel there was enough resolution for all that was left unsaid throughout the story. The ending did improve my overall feelings about this book, but I’m sad that I hadn’t loved the rest more. I’m not sure how middle graders will perceive The Wolf’s Curse, but perhaps it will work better for its target audience. I am immensely grateful to Books Forward, Greenwillow Books, and NetGalley for my digital review copy. All opinions are my own. The Wolf’s Curse is out now!

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