Home / Book Review / WWII Alternate History| Book Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

WWII Alternate History| Book Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf is for readers like me who aren’t fans of World War II books. That doesn’t make sense now, but it will. Read on.

Book Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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wolf by wolf ryan graudin book review

Title & Author: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Genre: Young Adult – Historical Fiction

Release Date: October 20, 2015

Series: Wolf by Wolf #1

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, 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.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has 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 victor, 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 begins to get 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?”

What If…

I love when authors play high stakes “what if” games in their books. Ryan Graudin asks the simple question: “What if the Axis Powers had won WWII?”

This is a disturbing question with upsetting implications. Graudin harnessed that energy and created something truly incredible.

I’m a huge fan of WWII-set stories (my only other point of reference is The Book Thief), but Wolf by Wolf is not really a WWII book per se. Because of the alternate history, I didn’t feel like I was reading a story I’d already heard a million times.

The setting matters a great deal, but the story focuses on Yael – who’s working to fight against Hitler and the Third Reich.

As for the storytelling, Wolf by Wolf pivots between Yael’s current day-to-day events and glimpses into her past and how she became a skinshifter/impersonator.

One thing I do like about war and spy movies is all the subterfuge, lying and secrets. It comes built in with drama and intrigue and action.

Other things I loved:

  • Badass motorcycle racing
  • Secret missions
  • An interesting love interest (minus instalove and love triangles)
  • Interestingly weird magic/science blend

Speaking of the love interest…I was so in the mood for this type of romance. It doesn’t dominate the book, and it isn’t straightforward (competitors with a weird past Yael can’t even begin to sort out). I was a fan.

To put it simply: This book made me feel things. Having that connection where you feel what the character is feeling – their pain and triumphs – is truly special. I felt that way with Yael – I was invested in her broken past and her uncertain future.

With every page, I was more and more anxious to reach the end to find answers. I discovered them, but I found a whole lot more questions, too.


Wolf by Wolf is excellent. I was so impressed with the steady revelation of facts and information that spurred on the action, while Yael develops and grows as a character. I was fully engaged throughout the entire story – Wolf by Wolf is not to be missed.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Lisa Bretherick

    I like your take on this one, I did have trouble because of the alternative history, so many questions popped up. I liked it for the reasons you did too, it was an interesting story. Great review