Cover Reveal: The Wise and The Wicked by Rebecca Podos

Our week of cover reveals continues today as I’m honoured to welcome Pop! Goes The Reader regular and my dear friend, Rebecca Podos, to the blog as we share the exclusive cover reveal for Rebecca’s next novel, The Wise and The Wicked! Coming to a bookstore and library near you May 28th 2019 from Balzer + Bray, The Wise and The Wicked is a story Rebecca has described as a “modern Russian fairytale where everybody’s complicated and queer” and if the novel itself is even a smidgeon as exquisite as the excerpt and cover Rebecca has graciously agreed to share here today, we’re in for a serious treat! The cover of The Wise and The Wicked was designed by Sarah Kaufman with accompanying art by Gina Triplett.


About Rebecca Podos

Rebecca Podos is the Lambda Literary Award-winning author of the Young Adult novels The Mystery of Hollow Places and Like Water. By day, she works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston. By night, she sweeps piles of spaghetti off of her kitchen floor as soon as her pasta-loving toddlers have gone to bed. She would have it no other way.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

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.



Title The Wise and The Wicked
Author Rebecca Podos
Pages 304 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Publication Date May 28th 2019 by Balzer + Bray
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

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.

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.

One response to “Cover Reveal: The Wise and The Wicked by Rebecca Podos”

  1. Dahlia Adler says:

    I cannot get over how much I love this. SO MUCH.

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