Powerful and compelling, this high-stakes, feminist reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood is perfect for fans of Stephanie Garber and Meagan Spooner.
For as long as sixteen-year-old Adele can remember, the village of Oakvale has been surrounded by the dark wood—a forest filled with terrible monsters. A forest that light itself cannot penetrate.
Unlike her fellow villagers, Adele cannot avoid the dark wood.
Adele is one of a long line of guardians: women who secretly take on the form of a wolf, in order to protect their village.
But when accepting her fate means giving up the boy she loves, abandoning the future she imagined for herself, and breaking her own moral code, she must decide how far she is willing to go to keep her neighbors safe.
In this refreshing "Little Red Riding Hood" retelling, the woods surrounding the isolated village of Oakvale teem with monsters and voices of the long dead, including 16-year-old Adele Duval's father. With only watchmen and a ring of torches to protect them, the villagers sneer at Adele and her baker mother, "redheaded witches" who can enter the woods to visit Adele's grandmother each full moon. Adele hopes to marry her sweetheart, Grainger, but her first solo trip to her grandmother's house ends with the teen killing a whitewulf a werewolf that eats human flesh and learning of her matrilineal legacy: to protect a village as a redwulf. Adele's guardian training becomes complicated when she discovers her arranged marriage to carpenter Maxime Bertrand, son of a redwulf. And as Adele considers both Grainger and Max, she questions her decision to shelter a boy she found abandoned in the woods. Blending fairy tale elements with the atmospheric horror of M. Night Shyamalan films, Vincent's (Strange New World) swift pacing builds palpable tension in the first two-thirds of the novel. Though the tempo slows when Adele's identity is tested by threats to the village, the character's strong voice and presence resonate throughout. Ages 14 up.