“Follow your heart; it’s as true as any compass out there.”
Shunned by his fearful village, a twelve-year-old apprentice embarks on a surprising quest to clear his name with a mythic—and dangerous—wolf following closely at his heels. Jessica Vitalis’s debut is a gorgeous, voice-driven literary fantasy about family, fate, and long-held traditions. The Wolf’s Curse will engross readers of The Girl Who Drank the Moon and A Wish in the Dark.
Gauge’s life has been cursed since the day he cried Wolf. The superstitious villagers believe the invisible Great White Wolf brings death. If Gauge can see the Wolf, then he must be in league with it. So instead of playing with friends in the streets or becoming his grandpapa’s partner in the carpentry shop, Gauge must go into hiding. He helps his grandpapa in secret and is allowed out of the house only under the cover of night. Then the Wolf comes for his grandpapa, and for the first time, Gauge is left all alone, with a bounty on his head and the Wolf at his heels.
When a young feather collector named Roux offers Gauge assistance, he is eager for the help. But soon, the two orphans are forced to question everything they have ever believed about their town, about the Wolf, and about death itself.
Narrated by the sly, crafty Wolf, Jessica Vitalis’s debut novel is a vivid and literary tale about family, friendship, belonging, and grief. The Wolf’s Curse will captivate readers of Laurel Snyder’s Orphan Island and Molly Knox Ostertag’s The Witch Boy.
“I am obsessed with this story!” ~Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly
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“. . . extraordinary fantasy debut . . . an emotional roller coaster with all the feels.” ~Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Thoughtful, creative, and engaging.” ~Kirkus Reviews
“Vitalis’ striking debut is alluringly told . . .” ~Booklist
“In a thought-provoking debut, Vitalis considers grief, the end of life, and the industry of death through the eyes of an otherworldly, psychopompic wolf.” ~ Publishers Weekly
“A fable as polished and timeless as a fine wooden toy. Readers will root for spunky heroes Gauge and Roux while keeping watch for a certain mysterious wolf who’s not what she seems . . .” ~Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of the Newbery Honor book The Book of Boy
“Curiosity from young readers about the topic of death—combined with the level of action that takes place—will suck readers into the pages of The Wolf’s Curse, spitting them out on the other side seeing human connections in a whole new way. Highly recommended.” — The Children’s Book Review
“The Wolf’s Curse boldly tells readers to take a closer look at the stories they’re told—not to mention at the wolves that might be lurking in the shadows. A clear-eyed, big hearted fable of compassion, friendship, and love.”—Anne Ursu, author of The Real Boy
“A lyrical tale of loss and survival, tradition and belief, in which tension and secrets build like a towering wave. The Wolf’s Curse is a story of many layers. Young readers will treasure this beautiful debut and hold it close to their hearts.” ~Diane Magras, author of The Mad Wolf’s Daughter