The Wise and the Wicked
Our lives are an inevitable collection of tumultuous motion and roaring sensations. Eventually - as the great Bard once wrote - they all lead to "the undiscovered country from which no traveler returns." There is no alarm or sense of foreboding as to when this will happen and so, we must all continue our lives oblivious to time's silent ticking.
However, the Chernyavsky women possess a special ability of knowing one's Time.
Teenager Ruby Chernyavsky has been engrained with the knowledge that even if you know your Time there is no escaping it's grasp. This was a particularly difficult lesson to learn after their mother left Ruby and her sisters as a way to escape her own Time.
This was the undeniable truth of her existence...until the sudden death of her great-aunt Paulina that is. Suddenly, a world a possibilities branches out before Ruby and she sets herself on a quest to learn what exactly is the legacy of the Chernyavsky women before they were forced to flee to America.
Through flashes of the Chernyavsky family history, Ruby's podcast, and fairy tale references, author Rebecca Podos pulls together the threads of the past, presemt, and future for Ruby and her cousin, Cece, to discover the truth of their family...and learn that every action comes with a grave cost.
I found this to be an interesting read about fate that coincided with the journey of finding our sense of identity. In doing so, the Chernyavsky's have to readily brace themselves against their Time and decide if they're brave enough to rival their fates. The Wise and the Wicked had a great inclusion of Russian folklore and queer representation, and family dynamics that proved to be a source of freedom and repression. As you follow Ruby's story, the strength of history, family feuds, and secrets come to play a greater role that leads to an open-ending which hints at a possible sequel.
Joey King would be stellar at portraying Ruby!
....and Kiernan Shipka as Cece anyone?
Also, how cool would it be if Ryan Potter played Dov??
About this wicked book...
The Wise and the Wicked
by Rebecca Podos Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray Release Date: May 28th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT, Magical Realism
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' debut novel, The Mystery of Hollow Places, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a B&N Best YA Book of 2016. Her second book, Like Water, won the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Children's and Young Adult. The Wise and the Wicked, her third novel, is forthcoming in May 2019.
A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing Program at Emerson College and the Creative Writing Program at College of Santa Fe, Rebecca's fiction has been published in journals like Glimmer Train, Paper Darts, and Smokelong Quarterly. By day, she works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston.
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Win a copy of The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos
Start Date: 22nd May 2019
End Date: 5th June 2019
In an old house built of bloodred bricks, with a tea shop in the converted front rooms, there lived three sisters and their mother.
Solnyshko, the eldest, was willow-tree tall and sweet. Zvyozdochka, the middle child, was beautiful and sharp as a cut diamond. The youngest, Zerkal’tse, was small but hard, like an unshelled nut. Each was different as could be from her sisters, except that all three had their mother’s eyes, the deep green of leaves in the part of the forest where sunlight doesn’t reach. Of course they did; you can always recognize heroines in stories by their eyes, a sign of powerful gifts within. And this was a family with very powerful gifts.
Or they had been, once upon a time.
Once upon a time, their ancestors had lived inside an immense forest of towering pines beside the republic of Russian Karelia, south of the White Sea.
Once upon a time, the forest was cold and foreboding, and braved only by those seeking miracles. Those who’d heard whispers that the woman in the woods could foretell a person’s fate, could grant wisdom and health, and—if the seeker was worthy—could ward off death itself. She and her daughters were revered and respected by those who believed. They were legends.
But the world around them changed, as it does. The cities to the west were touched by war. Political factions wrestled for the land, fighting and dying and destroying, in the way men do. Farms lay fallow; bridges and buildings were demolished. Factories and processing plants sprouted up. Typhus and cholera and diseases of deprivation burned through settlements, killing thousands.
So it was that the people became fearful for their lives. Stirred by rumors—by stories—and hungry for the power to save themselves, a band of city-dwelling men went into the forest. They trampled brush that had gone unstirred for centuries, hacked through delicate black thorns, and sloshed through clean river water with their foul boots to steal the secrets of the woman in the woods for themselves.
Long had the woman believed they would come. She had heard the tales of the settlements from miracle seekers, caught the stench of desperation and decay and greed on the westerly wind. She knew of the darkness in these men that stained what was good, like blood in water. And so she was prepared.
She sent her daughters away on a ship bound for America to protect them. But they left their greatest secrets behind, and by the time they’d crossed the ocean, they had become shadows of themselves, believing it better to be small and safe than strong and hunted.
This was the legacy of Solnyshko, Zvyodochka, and Zerkal’tse. Deep green eyes, greatly weakened gifts, and the stories their mother—the granddaughter of the woman in the woods—told them in their beds in the old brick house. Each night, she passed along what diminished wisdom their ancestors had brought with them to their new home, this foremost: that the world has never been very kind to powerful women.
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