Wolf by Wolf and Blood for Blood Ryan Graudin

Graudin (2016) addresses identity in the addictive Wolf by Wolf series.

Contains spoilers.

I love the young adult genre. I love that contemporary political issues are being dealt with one way or another in the literature of young people, who are old enough to know what surrounds them, but are still dismissed as having any impact on these events. These books are artifacts of rebellion that goes way beyond the last page.

Wolf by Wolf is a great stand-alone novel. Until I reached the end, I didn’t even realise there was a sequel. I was not concerned with the love interest between Yael and Luka, but I did want to find out what happened.

Whilst the plot is gripping, the literary symbols in these two novels are complex and extremely well written. The most striking was the matryoshka doll, which disappears for a large portion of the plot, but reunited at the end of the text. The doll is a powerful symbol because it trangresses racial boundaries. These concrete details (along with one other), anchor Yael in her new adventure of self-discovery. Above anything else, the doll reminds Yael that she can and has “changed things”.

The were-wolf myth is addressed in this novel in complex, gritty, C20th ways. Graudin adopts the notion of morphology through the use of physical doppelgangers. By the end of the first book, we realise that many of the characters we encounter are not who they say there are. Instead, the are subjects of scientific experiments, used to protect Hitler, who plays a prominant role in all events. His reach permeates every scene, where the reader experiences paranoia alongside the characters.

A lot of Young Adult novels which deal with identity to this extent would be written in first person. However, this journey is not all about Yael. There are many young people whose stories we see in the narrative, and experience their fears with them. Although the omnipotent narration tells us different, we understand Felix’s fear of Yael throughout the first and second books, perhaps we even understand his movements in the last twenty pages of Blood for Blood. 

The use of the were-wolf myth in these novels is a clever way of addressing identity. In extension the image of the wolf gives Yael considerable strength, and the title of the first novel is a reference to the tattoos that Yael gets to remember loved and lost ones. In the meantime, these tattoos do not disappear, and reveal Yael’s true identity should anyone care to look. Therefore, the morphological changes, which play with the were-wolf myth, is both empowering and inhabilitating Yael’s course.

Wolf by Wolf and Blood for Blood are important explorations of an alternative history, and the power of young people to change their history. I was gripped by the plot, but I also very much enjoyed all of the characters who were relatable through the third person narration.

Overall, if you get the chance, this will be one of the best Young Adult book(s) you read this year.

This is How it Always Is

This is How it Always Is is on the scale fem-lit, and tbh, I didn’t think I would be as impressed as I was with the structure of the whole story. If there’s one thing I love more than literature, it is fairy-tales. The metaphor of fairy-tales that runs throughout was one of my favourite bits about this book.

So, ok, here comes 30809345the elephant in the room: did I think this was a fair representation of a young trans* person’s life? Sure, absolutely. I am always wary, but I could believe that Rosie and Penn would have been supportive, loving and allowed Poppy to be who she was.

I guess in other ways it made me think. Sure, I totally agree with Frankel, that children should have more space to express themselves, to be aware of themselves, and be OK with it. But realistically, that isn’t the case for many young people. As this book makes obvious, the suicide rate of transgender people is over 40%! That’s astronomical! With the world as f*cked up as it is, you’d think that people had more important things to worry about, than as Poppy and Rosie would say, “what’s in your pants!”

Solid novel, I enjoyed it, and I recommend it. I had it on wait before my library had actually received the book, so a small plug here for your local library!!

Website, new stuff, writing, other places to find the Elusive Elliott

Greetings y’all, it’s been a while since I visited WordPress to post, but I thought I might as well re-direct any traffic to the following pages:

elliottchandler.tumblr.com & my spanking, new website elwordz.website

I now have a permanent e-mail address, so you can e-mail wordpress@elwordz.website to contact me if you so wish.

I will keep updating this blog for thingssss (mainly political I can imagine!)

#mentalhealth #spoontheory Sometimes it’s ok to admit things are not ok.

I’m hesitant to post this blog post. I’m hesitant even to write it. It’s a scary thing to ‘come out’ as having mental health issues.

Not many people read my blog, but it is out there for people to see. I’m scared of the repercussions, but I’m also optimistic that if we start conversations about people’s health, the world will be more forgiving of symptoms.

In every family there are issues. We are by no means unique. But right now I need to take a step back from mine. I found out on Sunday that that is an OK thing to say. I got worried and upset talking to a relative about something, but they were OK with it, and we worked it out. These things, with time, and communication, will probably repair themselves. But I am no longer taking things for granted, nor am I going to let things be swept up under the carpet.

This may seem like a weird place to post it, hence why I have been hesitant to write the post, and hey who knows, maybe it’ll just sit in my drafts forever, or I’ll delete it at a later date. But, I am here to say, I am free. I will not tolerate it any more because it makes me more ill, and that is not OK. The way I have been treated is not OK, and I will not allow myself to be a victim anymore. I will push forward and achieve what I want to achieve, and there will be no apron strings, or any metaphorical strings of guilt. This is me, and I am free.

On a more positive note, here’s something that is and will always be OK- THE SPOON THEORY

The original blog post discussing spoon theory is avaliable here, but here’s my brief summary and a suggestion.

First, here’s something I stole from Tumblr, I can chase the post back to http://actuallyintroverted.tumblr.com/, so I hope I am crediting the right person.


I’ve been wanting to write about the Spoon Theory for a while. The wusband introduced me to it quite a while ago, as they also suffer with health conditions. Strictly speaking, I do not have a chronic illness, but many people should be open to adopting this as a philosophy in their lifestyle if they suffer with any type of illness, including and not limited to mental health issues.

I know from personal experience that strains on the brain (whether stress, worry, depression, anxiety), tire the body out. You’ll start to find that you can’t do as many things during the day as you used to. These things happen because the body is using so much energy to do ‘simple’ things. If we accept this, we can stop being so down on ourselves about it- we can accept that our body is just so busy right now.

I think this technique could be liberating on all sorts of levels for all sorts of people. Hey, if you have a deadline coming up and you’re working super hard, you could accept that stress will make you tried, and you’d be tired on top of that anyway. During these times, you might be able to admit. Yo, I’m tired, I’d rather watch Netflix than go out tonight. 

Not easy, but perhaps a simply adaptation to a chaotic lifestyle forced on us by twenty-first century culture.


‘Twas the evening before the second leg of the Ipswich Town vs Norwich City semi final. And from it, I offer up a rare post.

I enjoy football a lot. I used to play, and still enjoy the occasional keepy-uppy session. When I was 8 I first went to see Ipswich Town in one of the first rounds of the FA cup (fair to say seeing as they v rarely get any further than that). We were sat quite high up that day, and we could barely make out the players, but I loved it up there. In the thick of the singing. The atmosphere was terrific, and I fell in love with Portman Road.

Portman Road, the home of Ipswich Town since 1884.

The last time I went to Portman Road must have been about ~3 years ago. The cousins are too busy… Besides, I tried (despite my fear of large crowds and trains) to get tickets and make my way down to Ipswich last weekend. But alas, I didn’t fulfill the criteria to get tickets for a derby. However, I do dispute the claim that fans who don’t often make it to their teams’ games, are “plastic fans”. I live too far away, and it’s simply too expensive to get their regularly by public transport. I always watch the highlights. I have the mobile phone updates, and I always sneer when Ipswich lose their heads in the second half, as they often have this season.

Tomorrows game is going to be dramatic, but that’s about all we know. I don’t think we can call it, until we know how the players come out on the pitch tomorrow. That’s the exciting bit. I’ll put my bet on Ipswich, because I support them, but I’ll still be biting my nails.

Ipswich have had an entertaining season, and although we got into the play-offs by the skin of our teeth, we’re still in with a chance.

I hope all the fans are safe tomorrow at Carrow Road. Enjoy the football, there’ll definitely be a show on.

Oh and, make some noise for the Tractor Boys!