Jessica Vitalis is a Columbia MBA-wielding writer specializing in middle grade literature. An American expat, she now lives in Canada with her husband and two precocious daughters. She loves traveling, sailing, and scuba diving, but when she’s at home she can usually be found recording book talks for Magic in the Middle and changing the batteries in her heated socks. Her debut novel, The Wolf’s Curse, was published in 2021 by Greenwillow/HarperCollins. A companion novel, The Rabbit's Gift, comes out on October 25, 2022.
The Wolf's Curse
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 and was accused of witchcraft. The Great White Wolf brings only death, Gauge’s superstitious village believes. 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 hide and pretend he doesn’t exist. But 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.
A young feather collector named Roux offers Gauge assistance, and he is eager for the help. But soon the two—both recently orphaned—are questioning everything they have ever believed about their village, 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.
The Rabbit's Gift
When the delicate balance is broken between the people of a small country and the mythical rabbits of old, a rabbit and a young girl must learn to trust each other. A standalone companion to The Wolf’s Curse, The Rabbit’s Gift is a vivid and inventive novel inspired by French folklore set in a country in which babies are grown in cabbage-like plants called Chou . . . and delivered by rabbits.
Fleurine, a twelve-year-old aspiring botanist and daughter of the Grand Lumière, secretly tries to grow the elusive purple carrots that humans trade for Chou. She longs for a sibling, but Maman doesn’t want another child. What’s more, she believes science will upset the natural order and insists that Fleurine follow in her political footsteps.
Meanwhile, the human demand for babies has dropped, and the rabbits are starving. A runt named Quincy decides to take matters into his own paws and sets out for the city, determined to prove that you don’t have to be big to be a hero.
When he inadvertently leads Fleurine back to the top-secret Warren, he sets off a string of events that pits them against each other and jeopardizes the future of the entire country––for rabbits and humans alike.