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The Wolf's Curse

4.77  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Twelve-year-old Gauge’s life has been cursed since the day he witnessed an invisible 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
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by Greenwillow Books
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Average rating 4.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  103 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Jessica Vitalis
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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!
Erin Kelly
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read a draft of this book. It’s phenomenal!
Melanie Dulaney
Apr 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Kate Foster
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Rebecca Morrell
Jul 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Juliana Brandt
Jul 31, 2020 marked it as to-read
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
Aug 21, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2021-releases
August 21, 2020: MG? Revenge? wolf takes grandpa? AH, need.
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
Terry Jennings
Jun 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jul 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jul 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compelling middle grade fantasy set in an imaginary French-inspired seaside nation. 12 year old Gauge is one of a minuscule minority of people with the innate ability to see The Wolf, a spirit believed to steal the souls of the newly dead before they can be safely released to the Sea-in-the-Sky (their version of an ideal afterlife). Normally people like Gauge are executed upon discovery and set out to sea to die of exposure or drowning as punishment for what the village assumes is the summoning ...more
Jul 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
So much to unpack here. First of all, I'm in love with that cover--everything about it, and the title, just perfectly captures the heart of this book.

The Wolf's Curse centers the story of Gauge, apprentice to his carpenter grandfather. But accusations of witchcraft surround the boy, whose ability to see the Great White Wolf--the bringer of death--forces him into hiding when he should be living a normal childhood. When he befriends Roux, a young feather collector, they discover things about their
Tracy Badua
Jul 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This middle grade fantasy follows the story of the Great White Wolf, sick of her centuries-long job (oh so relatable, for us adult readers), and Gauge, a young boy about to lose the grandfather who loved and protected him from superstitious townsfolk for years. What follows is a journey of grieving, friendship, misunderstanding, and unexpected kindness that sticks with you, and you’ll find yourself thinking of it long after you’ve reached the end.

The worldbuilding is beautifully done, and the G
Jun 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
A magical story with fairy tale vibes about Gauge, a young boy who is shunned by his village for being a Voyant, able to see the dreaded Wolf known to steal people's souls. Told from the omniscient perspective of the Wolf, who is misunderstood by the superstitious folk, this story is a wonderful tale of love, friendship, grief, and community. When Gauge's beloved grandfather dies, he is left trying to navigate his grief and mourning on his own, but soon makes friend with a village girl, Roux. Th ...more
Mrs Heidrich
Thanks to Edelweiss, the publisher and Jessica Vitalis for the ARC!

This is a beautifully written fantasy about a world where 12 year old Gauge has been ostracized since seeing The Great White Wolf many years before and being shunned by his community for being a "voyant" with special powers that frightened those in his community. The story is told by the wolf as narrator who is omniscient, so you get to know what others are thinking and feeling as well giving you so much more information that you
Jul 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Initial Thoughts: A completely unique book. The treatment of death and grieving is complex and nuanced; the actual plot is sometimes less so. I appreciate the exploration of how rituals can bring comfort, but I'm not entirely sure what to do with the fact that it was demonstrated that what the villagers believe about the afterlife is wrong. How would an actual grieving child reader react to the suggestion that the afterlife THEY were told exists might be a lie? ...more
Jul 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Incredible! How did the author get me to turn pages so fast, while I simultaneously had the urge to slow down so I wouldn't finish too quickly ??
A beautiful, atmospheric story. I will carry Gauge and Roux in my heart for a long time to come. Fantastic middle grade reading for anyone, but especially for those who have had to look grief in the face and continue on.
Peg Duenow
Jul 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found The Wolf's Curse a delightful book.with a charming story. The characters were believable and I cared about them. It is easy to get caught up in the trials of this sweet boy and the friends he makes along the way. I highly recommend everyone to read this alluring tale.
By Peg Duenow
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Diana Johnson
Jul 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Wolf’s Curse is a lovely story of grief and friendship with a creative and snarky narrator. Bouge-by-the-Sea, is one of the most immersive settings I’ve ever read. The world building was detailed in the most wonderful ways, from the descriptions, the mythology/belief system, and the individual words and slang the characters used.

The story is beautifully written and tackles grief in an accessible manor for children and adults too. I was swept away by Gauge and his Grandpapa’s relationship, I
Eileen Schnabel
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
Jul 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just want to hold this book in my heart and carry it around with me. It is beautifully written, full of warmth and tenderness found in the most unlikely of places.
With thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Children's Books for an early copy in return for an honest review.

4.5 stars for this excellent debut book. I liked the unique narrator (told from the POV of a snarky wolf). I also enjoyed the changing relationships between different characters...the wolf and Gauge, Gauge and Roux, Gauge and the people of the village. I greatly appreciated the sense of setting and felt truly immersed in the world of Gatineau. And I liked how this book dealt with loss in
Jul 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gorgeous tale with such a timeless quality that I believe it will become a modern classic. You will find yourself caught up in the Wolf's tale, as she narrates the story of young Gauge, apprentice to his grandfather the Carpenter. The Wolf represents Death, and Gauge is one of the few citizens of Bouge-by-the-Sea who can actually see her! Labeled a Voyant and mistrusted and even shunned by the townspeople, Gauge has been hidden away and protected by Grandpapá for years. But when Grandpapá dies ...more
May 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Told from the point of view of the wolf, The Wolf's Curse is a captivating middle grade fantasy story. Readers will find opportunities to relate to characters' greif as well as their triumph. Jessica Vitalis has created a world with traditions that will resonate with readers while giving them an escape from every day life. ...more
Jennifer Adam
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book! It's a beautiful exploration of grief, loss, love, and loyalty wrapped in an original folktale about a Wolf and where souls go when we die. I loved Gauge and Roux - they're brave, kind, compassionate characters and their friendship will warm your heart. I also loved the detailed worldbuilding and the absolutely beautiful prose. This book feels like a timeless classic and is certainly one of my new favorites. ...more
May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, arc, 2021
“This time, he understands: it’s the dark that makes the light shine so brightly.” I needed this book and this incredible narrator.
Rebecca Allen
May 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed-books
The publisher’s description references the familiar story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, but this story is so much more. It pulls you into an intriguing world and its beliefs about the preternatural wolf associated with death—and the problems those beliefs cause for Gauge, the boy who can see it.

Gauge is an underdog, so I naturally wanted to root for him. But what really pulled me into the story was the depth of his character and Roux, the girl who helps him, as well as the mystery they need to solv
Jul 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cried when I finished this book. At it's core, under the beautiful writing and the witty Wolf, is a story about grief. How it leads to anger. How the rituals we have are for ourselves because they help the living and how tenuous an understand children have of it. And how it feels to have a scapegoat for your grief when it's just too much.

We follow Gauge, a boy of twelve winters, who is apprenticed to his grandfather, a carpenter. Gauge's mother died, or, set sail, before he was old enough to
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Jessica Vitalis is a Columbia MBA-wielding writer specializing in middle grade literature. 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 recording book talks for Magic in the Middle or changing the batteries in her heated socks. Her debut novel, THE WOLF’S CUR ...more

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