Sixteen-year-old Ruby Chernyavsky must decide whether to use her ancestors’ magical past to lengthen her uncertain future.
Ruby is proud to come from a long line of magical women. But as far as she can tell, the only power her family has left is the ability to see their Time: a flash of what they will be doing just before they die. Since age 13, Ruby has known that her life will be short, which, coupled with her mother’s disappearance, plunged her into depression. Then Ruby’s Great-Aunt Polina passes away long after her Time predicted, offering hope that her family’s powers may allow her to extend her life. Ruby is determined to do whatever her great-aunt did—until she realizes that lengthening her own life comes at a price. Podos (Like Water, 2017, etc.) uses the simple premise of foreseeing one’s own death to weave a fast-paced, nuanced study of good and evil. The book’s main characters are white, two protagonists are queer, and one is trans. Ruby’s character development is fascinating, although certain aspects of her personality—such as her obsession with science and her tendency to drink heavily—flicker in and out rather than driving the plot. Although the ending provides a satisfying conclusion to Ruby’s story, it also leaves many strands unresolved which readers will anticipate exploring in the sequel.
A page-turning mixture of magic, suspense, and queer romance that keeps readers enthralled. (Speculative fiction. 14-18)