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A Wolf for a Spell
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A Wolf for a Spell

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  39 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
Expected publication: December 1st 2020 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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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
Karah Sutton
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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 (author of Ella Enchanted) in talking about the book on Dec 1, at 7pm ET:

Also I will be chatting with Rediscovered Books on Dec 3 at 4:30pm MT! They have been huge supporters of WOLF, so I hope to have you there:


Hi everyone! This book is like a window
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
The BookSnom
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was so warm and fuzzy and amazing. Reminded me of the storie5my grandma use to tell
I received an electronic ARC from Random House Children's Publishing through NetGalley.
Readers meet a rather different Baba Yaga when she tries to right a mistake she made in first dealing with the current Tsar. To do this, she needs to trade places with a gray wolf. Zima also makes a mistake when she does not attack a human who has come into their forest. This leads to her brother being severely injured. A bargain is struck and wolf and witch trade places. The story spins out as both characters
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
ARC provided from NetGalley

I love a good story inspired by folktales and here we have a tale with Baba Yaga. The cover and inside illustrations are beautiful. I felt like some of the illustrations were more refined and detailed than others, but the other all style fit the work and I wish there had been more of them.

The book has three main points of view told in 3rd-person: Zima the wolf, Baba Yaga, and a young orphan Nadya, with each chapter having different icons representing each character. Y
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this arc. A Wolf for a Spell was such a cute read. I’ve always been interested in various lore and mythology, especially when it comes to Baba Yaga. It’s the aspect that drew me into wanting this in the first place. Once I was approved, I realized it was a middle grade book. I thought I’d at least give it a shot though. I’m glad I did. It was such a nice, fast read. As an adult, I loved the chance of pace. It was almost like a palate cleanse for me. I ...more
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for sending me a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

A Wolf For A Spell is a magical tale perfect for middle grade readers who enjoy fairytales and/or animal POVs. I really enjoyed Sutton’s style of writing and the illustrations throughout the story. Along with the Russian folklore, there are some beautiful lessons on environmentalism, believing in yourself, bravery, accepting yourself as you grow and change, and found family.

Ashley Schomer
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the publisher and author, Karah Sutton, for the opportunity to read A Wolf for a Spell. I found that I could not put this book down! I loved the themes of selflessness, friendship, and family that appeared throughout the whole story were fantastic. Zima, even though she is a wolf, is such a relatable character. She loves her pack (family) and will do anything to protect them! Though she is not perfect, her imperfections come from wanting to do good for all those around her. I can't ...more
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Wolf for a Spell is an entertaining read about clever orphans, loyal wolves, and scheming rulers. The story of Baba Yaga - or witches in the woods in general - are always captivating to the imagination. A Wolf for a Spell is no exception - from the first page the reader is immersed into the story. It's a quick attention grab and easy to read. The shift between three main characters can be a little difficult for younger readers to follow, but otherwise the three stories weaving together works w ...more
Ash Otterloo
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the honor of reading an ARC pre-release, and I so enjoyed this magical retelling of Baba Yaga! The writing has a classic fairytale feel, and the author's fresh twists and perspectives breathe new life to one of my favorite witch tales by narrating the story from the perspective of a wolf who must work together with the dreaded Baba Yaga to save her pack and beloved forest. This book is perfection for cozy downtime, group reading, as a bedtime has a timeless magical appeal that w ...more
Sylvia H.
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I was excited to have a chance to read this book early when a colleague lent me her ARC. The novel has all the fairy tale elements that should make a memorable story, and premise is fantastic. Overall, though, the book fell a bit flat for me, and I was pulled out the story a few times by clunky prose. I did like the multiple points of view, though, and the illustrations were gorgeous. I will still probably purchase this for my classroom, as I always have students who read anything and everything ...more
Katie Reilley
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author and publisher for sharing an early copy with #bookexpedition.

A captivating middle grade fairy tale novel with incredible characters and adventure set in a magical forest.

Shifting from multiple points of view, readers will hear the voices of Baba Yaga, the witch; Zima, the brave, kind-hearted wolf; and Nadya, the rebellious orphan girl, as they unite against an evil that threatens them all.

A pre-order must! Publishing in September 2020.

May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a very enjoyable book to read! I grew up both loving and fearing the tales of Baba Yaga, and have read just about any book I can find with her in it. A Wolf for a Spell spun together many different aspects of familiar childhood fairy tales, into a fast-paced quest. I look forward to reading more books by Karah Sutton, and hope that she will revisit the forest, Nadya, and Zima in future stories.

**Received an ARC from Netgalley for review**
Ashley Dang
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A absolutely stunning and enchanting story about a girl, a wolf, and Baba Yaga. I fell in love with the beautiful artwork within this story and found the plot to be just fantastic. I really enjoyed reading this and know that its perfect for anyone who likes a good fairytale. The story is told from three perspectives and I liked reading from each of them. Overall this was a great read and I would highly recommend this for everyone.
I'm a sucker for anything involving fairytales being retold, and this middle grade debut did not disappoint! It read in the tone of an old folktale being told and I loved the magical illustrations adding to the story. It gives a new twist to the old tale of Baba Yaga while still feeling classic.

I received an eGalley of this book.
Amanda - Cover2CoverMom
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2020
Cover2CoverMom Blog

What I liked...
» First off this was a total cover ARC request. I just couldn’t help myself. Probably one of the most beautiful middle grade fantasy covers of 2020!

» Told in alternating perspectives of a young village orphan, a wolf, and a witch, A Wolf for a Spell is a Russian inspired fairy tale full of magic, friendship, heroics, and conquering evil.

» Sutton’s writing is lovely and deliciously atmospheric. This story was short and well-paced, making for a very quick read.

» I
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
**ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for review**

An incredibly charming middle grade story that reads like a fairy tale centered on a witch (Baba Yaga), a young girl drawn to the woods, and a wolf that wants to protect its family and forest. There are wonderful illustrations inside, the writing is compelling, and I was delighted by this cute story from beginning to end.
This is a 4-star read only because it was not very exciting, which I was hoping for at times, and middle grade tends to have
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
I love Baba Yaga stories, and this one is fantastic! Definitely one of my favorite middle grades. I loved the characters and the message of this book. And the cover is so beautiful.
I have already ordered a finished copy.

I received a copy from Net Galley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was a delight! A wolf, a witch, an orphan and a forest. What could be better? Add the enchanting illustrations and A Wolf for a Spell is the perfect book to escape into.
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A quickly paced and delightful Baba Yaga story, wherein a wolf, a girl, and a witch gather forces to defeat an evil ruler, save a forest and its inhabitants, and maintain peace in their world.
Joanna Bennett
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.5

Review to Come.
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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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