Welcome to my stop on the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour for The Wolf’s Curse by Jessica Vitalis. When I first found out about this book, I knew it was one I would want to read. And don’t get me started on how much I love that cover! Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the tour schedule for other content creators. Also, I did a guest post with Jessica earlier about tackling deep themes like death & grief in books, which you can read here. You can also check out the first line from The Wolf’s Curse on my First Line Fridays post from September 17th.
Thank you to Jessica Vitalis and Greenwillow Books & HarperCollins for providing me with an ARC for this review.
JESSICA VITALIS is a Columbia MBA-wielding writer. After leaving home at 16, Vitalis explored several careers before turning her talents to middle grade literature. She brings her experience growing up in a nontraditional childhood to her stories, exploring themes such as death and grief, domestic violence, and socio-economic disparities. With a mission to write entertaining and thought-provoking literature, she often includes magic and fantastical settings. As an active volunteer in the kidlit community, she’s also passionate about using her privilege to lift up other voices. In addition to volunteering with We Need Diverse Books and Pitch Wars, she founded Magic in the Middle, a series of free monthly recorded book talks, to help educators introduce young readers to new stories. She was recently named a 2021 Canada Council of the Arts Grant Recipient. An American expat, she now lives in Canada with her husband and two precocious daughters. She loves traveling, sailing and scuba diving, but when she’s at home, she can usually be found reading a book or changing the batteries in her heated socks.
About The Book
Title: The Wolf’s Curse
Author: Jessica Vitalis
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publishing Date: September 21, 2021
Page Length: 336
Age Range: Middle Grade
“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.
Content Warning: Grief and Death
This was a beautiful written book that explored grief and how every person experiences it differently. Jessica has managed to show us a minimum of four grief stories with each one feeling impactful. At no point did one outshine another or lessen the value of another grief. Each one had importance, which was explore nicely from the narrator’s perspective.
The narrator was a great character on her own. Breaking the forth wall, we as a reader got to experience this as though being told by an elder. We felt included in the story. I think the narrator, our wolf, had the perfect amount of humour and snark that would allow the reader to breathe between heavy moments of grief without negating its importance.
Gauge was a strong character that was learning about the town he was isolated from while trying to deal with his grief. Although we don’t know much about Gauge, we do come to understand his grief and experience his memories of his family. We also get to see just how caring of a person he is during his journey for truth. The friendship he builds with Roux in such a short period was beautiful and you root for them throughout the book. Roux, herself, is experiencing grief, but you also see her loyalty and bravery the moment she steps onto the page.
Jessica has a great writing style that I believe makes grief more approachable for the middle grade age group – although excellent for older audiences as well. With the great exploration of grief and how every one experiences it differently, I feel everyone will feel some connection to the story. How death is handled in the book was great, and I loved the belief system that was created in this world.
I think this is a great, impactful book that handles its theme well. It was an emotional read that I’m glad I was able to get to this month. I highly recommend it.
jrundy85 – Review & Top 5 Reasons to Read The Wolf’s Curse
iambibliomane – Review