The Wise and the Wicked (Hardcover)
Rebecca Podos, Lambda Literary Award–winning author of Like Water, returns with a lush, dark, and unforgettable story of the power of the past to shape our futures—and the courage it takes to change them.
Ruby Chernyavsky has been told the stories since she was a child: The women in her family, once possessed of great magical abilities to remake lives and stave off death itself, were forced to flee their Russian home for America in order to escape the fearful men who sought to destroy them.
Such has it always been, Ruby’s been told, for powerful women.
Today, these stories seem no more real to Ruby than folktales, except for the smallest bit of power left in their blood: when each of them comes of age, she will have a vision of who she will be when she dies—a destiny as inescapable as it is inevitable.
Ruby is no exception, and neither is her mother, although she ran from her fate years ago, abandoning Ruby and her sisters. It’s a fool’s errand, because they all know the truth: there is no escaping one’s Time.
Until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away, and, for the first time, a Chernyavsky’s death does not match her vision. Suddenly, things Ruby never thought she’d be allowed to hope for—life, love, time—seem possible.
But as she and her cousin Cece begin to dig into the family’s history to find out whether they, too, can change their fates, they learn that nothing comes without a cost. Especially not hope.
About the Author
Rebecca Podos is the author of Like Water, winner of the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult fiction, The Mystery of Hollow Places, named one of the best books of 2016 by Barnes & Noble and MPR, and The Wise and the Wicked. A graduate of the writing, literature, and publishing program at Emerson College and the creative writing program at College of Santa Fe, Rebecca lives in Connecticut with her husband and children. You can visit her online at www.rebeccapodos.com.
“A page-turning mixture of magic, suspense, and queer romance that keeps readers enthralled.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“An enigmatic tale that feels as powerful and lush as the old-magic stories told by its characters, The Wise and the Wicked is an intoxicating ode to family, to first love, to storytelling. Podos’s complex characters and evocative prose weave a tantalizing spell.”
— Claire Legrand, New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn
“In Ruby’s distinctive first-person narrative, Podos explores how ancestral trauma, particularly among immigrant families, resonates among younger generations in surprising ways. This story packs unexpected depth, which is only enhanced by two refreshingly matter-of-fact queer romances.”
— ALA Booklist
“Podos weaves an intricate plot full of mystery and folklore that will make readers race toward the satisfying conclusion. A beautifully rendered story about sacrifice, vengeance, survival, secrets, and lies.”
— School Library Journal