Taken from Goodreads
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded 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 twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.
But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?
From the author of The Walled City comes a fast-paced and innovative novel that will leave you breathless.
I started this book right after I read Anna and the French Kiss, so when I say this reading this book is like having whiplash that’s probably why. It was high voltage from the beginning, strapping you to the back of a motorcycle and never letting off the gas. This book left me breathless. Ryan Graudin does a fantastic job of keeping her story well-paced, maintaining a high-stakes race throughout her book. She keeps the right amount of mystery with her characters, providing just enough information to keep her readers engrossed and desperate for more.
The characters did not disappoint either. Yael is a driven, if a but emotionless protagonist. She is a meticulous resistance member, always keeping her mission in mind as she proceeds through the book (with some exceptions). She is, I suppose, the perfect protagonist for the new dystopian thriller Graudin has created. Which is the only issue I can find with this book; Yael is too perfect. She keeps herself together, and despite her understandable confusion at Adele Wolfe’s life and relationships with her brother and Luka. Despite her traumatic backstory she is able to compartmentalize and remain driven. She doesn’t have a lot of conflict about what she I setting out to do. As someone who second guesses everything I do or say, I find that a little unbelievable, but inspiring. I wish I was as focused as Yael.
The only warning bells I really had about this book came from the cover blurb, which described Luka as Adele’s boyfriend and made it seem as if Yael would let her sex drive get the better of her when dealing with Felix and Luka. I am pleased to say that was not the case. While there is some kind of relationship woe between Luka and Adele and a constant push and pull between him and Yael she does not allow it to pull her too much from her mission. A little distraction is understandable. She’s human after all, and not even Jewish reneges with super powers are able to ignore all distractions. (Oh right, Yael is Jewish, man! That’s awesome!)
Wolf by Wolf skyrocketed into my favorites list, as well as stole the spot for the best book I read this summer, if not the whole year. I was very impressed with Graudin’s use of language and her story as a whole. She is an excellent writer and storyteller. I would recommend Wolf by Wolf to just about anyone who loves badass, dynamic girl characters, motorcycle races, and alternate history. Or just good books in general.