NEVERTELL, by Katharine Orton, Walker Books US/Candlewick Press

After escaping a Soviet prison camp, Lina is pursued by a powerful witch and her shadow wolves in a riveting debut that imbues frozen wilderness with fairy-tale magic.

All that twelve-year-old Lina knows of the world is the Stalinist labor camp where she was born, a place of hunger, cruelty, and deprivation. After a daring escape into the frigid Siberian wilds with her best friend, Bogdan, Lina vows to reach Moscow and find her long-lost grandmother, whom she hopes will help her return to the camp to rescue her mother. But out in the dark forests and haunted tundras, Lina and Bogdan catch the eye of a vengeful witch, a refugee of oppressive new laws about magic, who commands an army of shadow wolves. She seems drawn to some mysterious power within Lina herself. Pursued by the witch and in fear of recapture, Lina will need every ounce of courage she has — and a whisper of her own magic — if she and Bogdan are to survive the journey and bring hope to a dark place. An enthralling debut that weaves Russian fairy tales through fast-paced adventure.

Out April 2020

336 Pages


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.


I can’t say enough about this book. If you are looking for political overtures because of a Soviet prison camp element in the story, then you will have to find another book. This book is about friendship and love and a tremendous will to survive. There’s hidden mysteries about Lina’s powers, a sorceress who commands an army of ghost wolves, and magic.

I love the world-building and strong characters. The magic is beautifully written about and enjoyable because it is unique and not often used. The whole story has a Narnia vibe with the Snow Queen, ice, snow and cold. It’s a well-written middle-grade story that adults can enjoy too.

Lots of adventure, action and fast-paced plotting. Great character development and strong messages about friendship and personal growth. It’s a book I’ll be highly recommending.

I gave it:

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