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The Wolf's Curse

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4.85  ·  Rating details ·  73 ratings  ·  31 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
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Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by Greenwillow Books
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  • The Wolf's Curse by Jessica Vitalis
    The Wolf's Curse
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    Release date: Sep 21, 2021
    Shunned by his fearful village, a twelve-year-old apprentice quests to clear his name, followed by a mythic—and dangerous—wolf. Enter to win an ARC!

    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 10 copies available, 1268 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Jun 02 - Jun 30, 2021

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.85  · 
    Rating details
     ·  73 ratings  ·  31 reviews


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    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
    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
    ...more
    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!
    Fanna
    Aug 21, 2020 marked it as to-read
    Shelves: 2021-releases
    August 21, 2020: MG? Revenge? wolf takes grandpa? AH, need.
    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
    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
    Soup
    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
    Sylvia
    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
    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
    Alyssa
    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.
    ...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
    Erin
    May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: 2021, middle-grade, arc
    “This time, he understands: it’s the dark that makes the light shine so brightly.” I needed this book and this incredible narrator.
    Kathie
    Apr 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: 2021
    Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

    THE WOLF’S CURSE is the author’s debut MG novel and tells the story of a young boy ostracized by his community but whose loyalty to a friend puts his own life at risk as he attempts to avenge her father’s death. Written from the perspective of a unique narrator, this story looks at death, loneliness, love, loss, friendship and the collective power of a community for good and evil.

    The Great White Wolf is the narrator of this story
    ...more
    Haylie
    May 12, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Gauge has led a lonely existence for the past 6 years all because he said he could see a wolf, that no one saw. The Lord Mayor accused Gauge of being a Voyant and causing his wife's death. Gauge’s grandpapa was able to save Guage 6 years ago, but when his Grandpapa dies, and the wolf comes again Gauge isn’t so lucky. He is accused of being a Voyant again and the whole village is out to get him and sentence him to set sail. As he turns to Roux for help, both kids start to learn more about the rel ...more
    Kristen Morris
    May 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    “The Wolf’s Curse” is an inquisitive tale, which J. Vitalis weaves into a masterpiece. Captivating the reader into a world similar to our own, she seamlessly conveys the reader though an interesting and witty perspective.

    Gauge finds himself labeled as a “voyant”, shunned from all he knows; when his beloved grandpapá departs for The Sea-in-the-Sky. Losing a loved one is never easy, even when imminent. The recent void has Gauge questioning what he should do, who will protect him, and how to avoid
    ...more
    Jas Asbill
    Apr 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: middle-grade
    This story follows a young boy who has been rejected by his community because of a gift that even he doesn’t understand. A wolf keeps showing up when things go awry, but is the wolf there to help or is the wolf the cause of all the chaos?

    There are so many foundational understandings introduced in this book. I am not sure that the audience this book is meant to reach will walk away from it understanding what they have just learned, but it will plant that seed that will spur recognition later in l
    ...more
    Ben Gartner
    May 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I really enjoyed this story, primarily because of the Wolf narrator. The technique of telling the story from the Wolf’s POV but as omniscient was unique, clever, and crafty. It’s like we had a glimpse of what it might be like to be the Wolf, and like we were sharing an intimate secret with the narrator. Despite the obvious challenges of being the Wolf, I found myself sort of wanting to be in that role. She’s a sympathetic character. I anticipate this role-playing will spur good discussions in yo ...more
    Kate
    Apr 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    THE WOLF'S CURSE is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time. It did what the best stories do... it left me with a sense of wonder, reverence, and gratitude for our shared humanity. Jessica Vitalis' world building is extraordinary, from the vocabulary (pantaloons and damselfish) to the mythology built up around death, loss, and grieving (death is referred to as 'setting sail') to the pronunciation footnotes (there are pronunciation footnotes!) to the narrative voice (oh how I love nar ...more
    Tara
    Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    You all know I love a book with an intriguing or unique narrator and The Wolf’s Curse has that and more. Death is such a fascinating POV and hasn’t been don’t like this in MG. And then to have a main character like Gauge who is dealing with so much loss and so many huge personal decisions, my heart tugged along with every word and every turn of the page. But Vitalis handles all of this very well and the subject matter isn’t too heavy for a young reader. Her prose is gorgeous and quotable and thi ...more
    Susan Berk
    Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    The snarky wolf drew me in right away. Her dry humor and funny observations made me laugh. It didn’t take long for me to feel like I was right there with Gauge, the main character. His angst, determination, and difficult circumstances made him instantly likable and sympathetic. Then I met Rue, chock full of courage, cleverness, and boldness.

    However, the Wolf's Curse is not all about internal conflicts and characters. The external conflicts make the story fast-paced and gripping. Add a dash of m
    ...more
    Alysa
    Apr 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
    This fantastical tale of love, death, grief and the rituals we create to keep us tethered to life amid loss is wrapped up in an exciting adventure. Set in a wholly unique world, and told from a unique and very well executed POV, THE WOLF’S CURSE is a rich and heart affirming book. With multiple layers of meaning this is a story readers can come back to time and time again and keep finding new meaning and insight.
    Highly recommend for upper Mg readers.

    Thank you to Greenwillow/HarperCollins and N
    ...more
    Rebecca Petruck
    Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I was so lucky to read an early draft of this novel. Jessica deftly explores themes of familial love and grief with a light touch that encourages rather than saddens. The world building is so unique yet accessible, and the main character is one who you feel heart-broken for and just root him on the whole way. The writing is utterly gorgeous and perfectly balanced with moments of humor. A wonderful, wonderful book that I can't wait to read in its final form. ...more
    Sarah
    Apr 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I wish there had been middle grade books like The Wolf's Curse when I was young. These pages weave themes of social norms and traditions, grief and loss, and the development of self reflection into a fantastic and fun story. The challenges of interpreting the world and finding one's place in it tripped me up as a child, and it is amazing to me that the author spun all of these themes into a beautiful tale that honors the complexities and contradictions of growing and growing up. I love it. ...more
    Christiana Doucette
    You would think a story narrated by a grim reaper type character would be depressing, especially after a year with so many deaths. But the author weaves a story full of wonder, and heart. Gauge's pursuit of peace for his grandfather explores the traditions created around death, that may ultimately be more for those left behind. A beautiful story beautifully told. ...more
    Hannah
    May 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: favorites
    I've been in a major reading slump and The Wolf's Curse is the first book that I've been able to sit down and enjoy in months. This book was incredibly well-written and the ending was breathtakingly beautiful. I loved the narration, and I thought the novel did a spectacular job of tackling difficult topics such as death and grief. The Wolf's Curse is a must-read. 5/5 stars. A new favourite! ...more
    J.S.
    Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I was lucky enough to read an early version of this story and it hooked me from the very first page. Full of magic, friendship, and heart, The Wolf’s Curse hits all the right notes with a classic fairy tale feel. I loved it and you will too.
    Solim
    Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Ms. Vitalis' writing is so fluid and descriptive it breathes life into her characters. Loved it tremendously! ...more
    Debra Anton
    Feb 04, 2021 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
    Just ordered it--really looking forward to this one!
    Audrey
    May 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
    I found the narration of the story to be distracting, despite a lot of delighted focus on it from the author and from other reviewers. But the story of Gauge was good enough to keep me invested and I think it's a strong book, covering issues of grief, belief, discrimination, and fairness, that will be popular with young readers. ...more
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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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