cover image The Wise and the Wicked

The Wise and the Wicked

Rebecca Podos. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-062-69902-

Like all the women in the Chernyavsky family, 16-year-old Ruby knows when she’ll die, and she knows her death date is immovable. Descended from a long line of female “healers, seers of fate, and sources of great wisdom” who were “hunted for their abilities,” Ruby’s ancestors fled Russia. In America two generations later, Ruby’s sisters use their remaining gifts to help “desperate” women under their great-aunt Polina’s guidance. Before Ruby can join them, Polina dies—long after the date her vision had predicted. Polina’s longevity spurs Ruby, who is destined to die in just over a year, and her cousin Cece, to cheat death. Fate, they learn, can be altered, but not without significant, potentially devastating sacrifice. A resonant contemporary fantasy rooted in the very real tension of familial legacy, identity (two of the novel’s central characters are queer and another is trans), and choice, this novel by Podos (The Mystery of Hollow Places) leaves much unanswered, and readers will hope for a similarly rich continuation. Ages 14–up. Agent: Lana Popovic, Chalberg & Sussma. (May)