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A Wolf for a Spell

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  513 ratings  ·  165 reviews
The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar.

Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga.

Baba Yaga never do
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published December 1st 2020 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  513 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Wolf for a Spell is a deliciously magical adventure involving wolves, witches, and villagers—all of whom must work together to defeat an evil tsar.

The story begins with Zima, a wolf who’s dealing with issues within her own pack. She’s always been told to fear humans, but she isn’t sure what to believe anymore. One thing Zima knows for sure is that it’s not safe to converse with witches, and she’s been given strict orders. After an unforeseen event, Zima is forced to communicate with the forest
Jade Ratley
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
9.00 on CAWPILE.
Karah Sutton
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
EDIT: Thank you everyone who has read, borrowed, bought, or shared A Wolf for a Spell! I hope it's a warm cozy read for readers young and old.

If you enjoyed it, I'd also be forever grateful if you would also share your review on Amazon. You aren't required to have purchased on Amazon in order to review.

Thank you, and happy reading!


EDIT: One week until WOLF is out in the world!! Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed so far. I would love for you all to join me and Gail Carson Levine
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is everything I love. Polar, magical, animals and slavic folklore. To me this is perfection! 💙❄️
Yesha- Books Teacup and Reviews
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

A Wolf for a Spell was great middle grade fantasy based on Russian folklore that revolved around a wolf-Zima, a human-Nadya, and a witch-Baba Yaga. It was about facing fears and not let it overpower you, doing right things, it’s okay to be different, friendship, belongingness, family, trust, and good vs evil.

Plot was interesting. It had Red Ridin
Belles Middle Grade Library
Apr 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I’m always nervous reading animal focused books(& I don’t pick up many), especially one’s like this w/wolves-since everything that’s happened w/my pup I just wouldn’t be able to handle anything sad w/wolves(animals). So happy I had nothing to worry about. Wolves are my favorite animal, & I’m so protective of them. So to see such a beautiful story of wolves & animals trying to find a way to live peacefully-loved it. Wolves are SO misunderstood..probably b/c how they are portray ...more
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to NetGalley, Karah Sutton (author), Pauliina Hannuniemi (illustrator), Random House Children's, and Knopf Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read A Wolf for a Spell in exchange for an honest review.

This book is full of Russian lore, mythology, and fairy tale elements. It almost has a "Little Red Riding Hood" feel to it in the beginning, as wolf Zima sees a girl with a red hood in the forest and chooses not to kill her, despite what Zima's pack leader orders.

Nadya, the gir
Jenn of The Bookish Society
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rarely do I read a book for Middle Grade and think immediately about gifting it to everyone I know. The Russian folktale pulls the reader through a high staked multiple viewpoint adventure through the woods. Kids who haven't read any of the Baba Yaga myths are in for a treat. The animal POV reminded me of a bit of Pax by Sara Pennypacker if that book had magic. In this book, You get three rotating points of view, a girl, a wolf, and a witch. All of them have significant problems that they need t ...more
Beth Cato
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this as an advance copy via NetGalley.

A Wolf for a Spell spins Russian folklore around Baba Yaga into a fun new middle grade book. It follows a number of strong characters: Zima, a young wolf desperate for respect from her pack; Nadya, a young orphan who is sad her dear friend is marrying the tsar and yearns for a family of her own; and Baba Yaga, the magic-wielding old woman who is trying to save the woods before all is lost.

Zima strikes a deal the Baba Yaga, and the two end up switc
Feb 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Recommended to KTReads by: Jade Ratley
This was a lot of fun! I really loved the folklore and Russian mythology incorporated in the story and I think that was my favorite part. I loved the atmosphere and I think that having an animal as a main character was really interesting. My main problem was following the plot. The plot took a while to kick off and be clear and once it got going it was a bit hard to follow. I also thought that because two of the characters switched bodies at some point in this book it was hard to determine who w ...more
The BookSnom
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am not a big reader of middle grade, but I decided to give this one a try mostly because it’s a retelling of Baba Yaga, a character from Slavic folklore. For those who don’t know me, I come from Romania, which is between a bunch of East European Slavic countries so we do share part of those myths and legends.

I haven’t grown up with stories of Baba Yaga, mostly because my Grandma had her own original stories, that she knew from her grandma and so on. But this book made me go back to those cold
Paige Marie
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing from start to finish. The illustrations were so beautiful! A favorite so far this year!! Highly recommend!!
Heather - hturningpages
Rating: 4/5 grumpy ravens

Format: E-book/Audiobook. I’d like to thank Karah Sutton and Random House Children’s for a copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review! I went back and forth with the ebook and audiobook while reading.

To sum up:
In this is a reimagining of Baba Yaga, a wolf makes an unlikely bargain with the witch to save her brother. This bargain has a price, however, which requires the wolf, Zima, and Baba Yaga to switch physical forms temporarily. This leaves Zima in a position
Elley Murray
This book is AMAZING. I was a little leery about reading a middle grade book (at the ripe old age of 35...), but I adore Baba Yaga and when I read the back cover blurb I knew I needed to read this book. I can't believe this is Karah Sutton's debut novel!! This intriguing, magical story of a wolf, a girl, and and a witch is written for middle grade readers, and is so well told and that it's enjoyable for audiences of all ages.

Told in the limited third-person past tense, A Wolf For A Spell altern
Dec 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

While I knew a little about Baba Yaga and some of her attributes, I have never really read a story involving her and I'm so glad this was my first. We follow a few different perspectives in this story with Baba Yaga being one of them, the others being Zima (a wolf) and Nadya (a young girl). At the surface this could certainly be framed as a fairy tale, but I felt it went much deeper than that. The three characters we follow as
Sam Sigelakis-Minski
See full review on my blog, Sam's Beach Reads.

I was so excited to receive this ARC from Netgalley and Random House Children’s because it has so many things that I love: Russian mythology, an animal narrator, and a spooky forest. One of my favorite ARCS I’ve ever gotten from Netgalley was Bear and the Nightingale, a YA historical fantasy based in Russia. A Wolf for a Spell is even more exciting to me to a certain extent (despite my lack of experience with middle grade books), because of Baba Yag
Frankie Lovely
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

A Wolf for a Spell

3.5 stars

What I like

This story was a truly wonderful fairytale read that is great for all ages. This reads more middle grade than YA, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. I thought this book grazed some important and inspiring topics while also crafting a mildly dark and unique fairytale. This book was easy to read and easy to enjoy.

What I did not like

There is nothing in particular that I didn't like
Many thanks to Random House Children's, Knopf Books for Young Readers, and NetGalley for the ARC.

If A Wolf for a Spell had existed when I was a kid, it probably would have been one of my favorites. This Middle Grade novel based on Russian fairy tales has everything I could possibly want: wolves, magic, a plucky young heroine, and (did I mention?) fairy tales. It's a story that will entrance any fantasy loving child and that's equally enjoyable for adults. It also features gorgeous illustrations
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Hear me out. Baba Yaga. Wolves. And illustrations. Got that? Okay. Let's begin.

For all you Baba Yaga lovers out there, this is the book for you. Anyone who knows me is aware of my love, fascination, and adoration for all things Baba Yaga. Naturally, I had very high expectations for this book, and it easily delivered.

I won't rehash the plot; that's generally not what my reviews do. But this book borrows heavily on many different aspects of Russian folklore, with Baba Yaga at our forefront. We rea
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
I don't know about you, but I've always been interested in Russian folklore (or should I say, everything Russian related, namely the language, the country's history, the folklore). So, when I heard that this middle grade book involves both Baba Yaga and an animal, I didn't want to pass on the opportunity! The book cover and the illustrations inside made me even more excited about this book, much needed during this reading slump of mine. And I was not disappointed, on the contrary.

In this book, w
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
A Wolf for a Spell follows the story of Zima, a wolf who is extremely wary of humans. However, fate leads to Zima exchanging her body with Baba Yaga’s for a certain period of time- for a reason. Will Baba Yaga get to complete her goal, and does Zima get to return back to her body?

This book is so cute, I JUST CANNOT. AAARGH.

I have read more than a few middlegrade gems this year, but this one certainly takes the cake for me! Whimsical stories are my jam. I’ve always been fascinated with the Baba Y
Candyce Kirk
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Wolf for a Spell was my first time reading a Baba Yaga retelling and I highly enjoyed this book. It's clear this book has been influence by Russian fairy tales and I loved how everything comes together. Karah Sutton created a world I really enjoyed and could really see as I was reading the book. I really appreciated the 3 POVs in this story. For me it really help keep the story going and me wondering how they were all going to come together.

In A Wolf for a Spell we follow Zima (a wolf), Nadya
Brandy {The Review Booth}
I love Russian folklore, so naturally I was beyond excited to join the tour and read this middle grade fantasy. This version of Baba Yaga was the most positive light I have seen her in and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her this way. One of my favorite things was one of her modes of travel – a mortar and pestle that could take flight. The illustration for it was even better! I was not expecting illustrations but they are rustic and lovely. They also provide illustrative breaks for younger readers t ...more
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing

A Wolf for a Spell is a fantastic fairy tale. While not quite a retelling of previous fairy tales, it's definitely inspired by tales of Baba Yaga and the grey wolf. I loved this version of the grey wolf, Zima is well fleshed out and I loved her time in the castle.

If I'm honest, I think it was a mistake to have parts of the book from Nadya's POV. She's just not that strong a character and it took away from Baba Yaga and Katerina's stories. I think Katerina should have been the POV instead. I
Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: earcs

I'm a sucker for Baba Yaga tales, so this one was right up my alley. Luckily though this wasn't as terrifying as most Baba Yaga tales can go and it's perfect for older kids/younger MG. It's delightful and has the feel of a traditional fairytale and not to mention it also has a huge case of wonderfully strong, kind, and grave female characters, both 2-legged and 4-legged! The pacing was good, not too slow but enough chapters that a lot developed over the course of time. A fun read!

Thanks to
Jess d'Artagnan
Feb 17, 2021 rated it liked it
This book read like a classic fairy tale in that the characters were a bit surface level and the main purpose of the story seemed to be to teach important lessons about life. It was definitely plot-driven and the story built nicely to an exciting resolution at the end. The prose was lovely and also very reminiscent of a classic fairy tale. I loved the magic and whimsy of the forest setting and baba yaga's hut was just perfection. This was well worth reading and the illustrations are gorgeous. ...more
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley and Random House for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Middle grade books that can be loved by readers of all ages are my favorites! A Wolf for a Spell is odd, charming, cozy book with a dash of whimsy. Would recommend.
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: story-shop-reads
A well told story. I loved the three POVs of wolf, Baba Yaga, and Nadya.
Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was so great. Russian folktale characters and magic and forests and wolves all come to life in this story. Imparts a heartfelt and positive message.
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Karah Sutton is a former bookseller and a current writer, bird watcher, and Baba Yaga enthusiast. Her debut middle grade fantasy adventure A Wolf for a Spell is inspired by her Russian heritage and the fairytales that have enchanted her since childhood. Karah also works in marketing for the video game industry, and has had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s most respected and well-lo ...more

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