Published by HarperTeen on July 27, 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
This high stakes, pacey reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood is perfect for fans of Stephanie Garber and Megan Spooner.
For as long as sixteen-year-old Adele can remember the village of Oakvale has been surrounding by the dark woods—a forest filled with terrible monsters that light cannot penetrate. Like every person who grows up in Oakvale she has been told to steer clear of the woods unless absolutely necessary.
But unlike her neighbors in Oakvale, Adele has a very good reason for going into the woods. Adele is one of a long line of guardians, women who are able to change into wolves and who are tasked with the job of protecting their village while never letting any of the villagers know of their existence.
But when following her calling means abandoning the person she loves, the future she imagined for herself, and her values she must decide how far she is willing to go to keep her neighbors safe.
Red Wolf is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood by Rachel Vincent. I went into this book not realizing it was a YA story. I’ve read several of Rachel Vincent’s adult stories, but never a YA from her. I’m really picky about YA stories, but there’s been a few that I’ve loved over the years. I’m glad to say I can add this book to that list.
The story follows sixteen-year-old Adele. She’s really wanting to get married and live next door to her best friend who is newly engaged. Adele’s mother (her father died years before and his death is a big part of this story) has been avoiding answering the question about Adele marrying her long-time boyfriend. He is part of the town’s watch, which helps protect the village from “the dark wood” and the vicious shape-shifting wolves who live in it.
Adele is sent to the wood to make a delivery to her grandmother. And that is when Adele’s life is turned upside down. She learns she comes from a long line of guardians, people who can shift into red wolves to help protect people from the white wolves who attack without regard for anyone.
A lot of the story was fairly predictable (especially if I read the blurb, which I had not, so I wasn’t really aware of the werewolf aspect of this story going in). However, the story does take a turn when Adele finds a small child alone in the wood and brings him back to the town. This is when the story starts to pick up for me. I really loved how it ended. I love how Adele decides to do what she thinks is best and doesn’t believe something just because everyone else did. The very, very end does leave you with a few questions, but not a cliffhanger type question. More of a “you determine what happened” type of end. I’m probably not explaining it right, but I loved how it ended.
So, basically, I’m not a huge fan of YA stories, though I do read some paranormal ones from time to time. This is one that I’m really glad I picked up. I had a fun time with it. I do recommend not giving up on it and finishing the story. It isn’t a long story. I completed it in less than a day. I just feel that the very beginning, the building of the story, is a bit slower and star struck teenager, than I like, but it ended really well.
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Like you, I’m picky about what YA I will read. Neat that it is a werewolf Little Red Riding Hood retelling. I might have to give it a go.
I think you would enjoy this story, Sophia. It does have a little bit of a dark side to it, especially for YA. It is a fun retelling of the fairytale.
Melanie @ Books of My Heart
I really enjoy this author a lot, but I wouldn’t have chosen it because YA. I think Robin is the only one of us who considers YA as a main genre she reads.
I’ll read YA every now and then. There few authors I would try on YA and this is one of them (though I didn’t know I was doing that here). Jenna Glass under her other pen name, Jenna Black, has some really good YA.
Melanie @ Books of My Heart
The last few YA books that I’ve read have been disappointing, so I’ve been steering clear of them. But this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood sounds like fun. And if you liked it…I might just give it a read. 🙂
Yeah, I tend to avoid YA stories. So many of them are just not my thing. But there are a few that workout for me. I’m glad this one did.
I like YA and have been curious about this one. I might have to give this one a try.
If you like YA and fairytale retellings, then this is for sure the book for you. It is a really fun story. It can be a bit dark at times (especially for YA), but is a great story.
I always like retelling so I confess that now I’m also curious of this one!
Red Riding Hood with werewolves was very interesting.
I’ve not done well with YA paranormals so kudos to you for taking a chance. Excellent review, Melanie💜
I’ve only don’t paranormal YA. I don’t read much of it, but I enjoyed this one.
I’m the opposite of you, I’ve only read Rachel Vincent’s YA books. And I prefer YA paranormal to adult myself. This is one on my TBR, so glad to hear it is worth the read. Great review!
I’ve read every one of Rachel Vincent’s adult series and loved them all. I will say that each series seems darker than the previous one. This one is a bit dark, compared to some of the YA I’ve read.
I like the paranormal element of this story. It sounds like it ended well.
The ending was wonderful. A wonderful take on this classic fairytale.
Yes YA can be tricky, I usually stay with fiction, but sometimes I branch out 😀
I’m so very picky about YA, but there’s some really good YA out there.
This looks fun and, as you said predictable, but sometimes those fit the bill after a gritty tale. Great review!
Thanks, Kimberly. I really enjoyed this take on Little Red Riding Hood.
Lovely review, Melanie. Yes… YA is one of those odd sub-genres that often doesn’t work for me either. But when it does – I generally love the stories. And I’m a sucker for fairytale retellings, particularly this year when I’ve needed a bit more predictability. I enjoy Rachel Vincent’s writing, though I’ve only read her adult books so far, which pack a punch. I may well be tracking this one down!