Death lurks around every corner in this unforgettable Jewish historical fantasy about a city, a boy, and the shadows of the past that bind them both together.
Chicago, 1893. For Alter Rosen, this is the land of opportunity, and he dreams of the day he’ll have enough money to bring his mother and sisters to America, freeing them from the oppression they face in his native Romania.
But when Alter’s best friend, Yakov, becomes the latest victim in a long line of murdered Jewish boys, his dream begins to slip away. While the rest of the city is busy celebrating the World’s Fair, Alter is now living a nightmare: possessed by Yakov’s dybbuk, he is plunged into a world of corruption and deceit, and thrown back into the arms of a dangerous boy from his past. A boy who means more to Alter than anyone knows.
Now, with only days to spare until the dybbuk takes over Alter’s body completely, the two boys must race to track down the killer—before the killer claims them next.
"Chillingly sinister, warmly familiar, and breathtakingly transportive, The City Beautiful is the haunting, queer Jewish historical thriller of my darkest dreams."—Dahlia Adler, creator of LGBTQreads and editor of That Way Madness Lies
“Polydoros seamlessly blends a murder mystery with Jewish folklore in this haunting historical fantasy…. Readers looking for finely wrought historical fiction with fully realized characters and a thrilling pursuit of justice are sure to be satisfied by Alter’s story.”
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
“A gorgeous, disturbing, visceral and mystical experience…. His unflinching and well-rounded depiction of Jewish American and immigrant history makes The City Beautiful a superb addition to the ranks of YA historical fiction.”
—Bookpage, STARRED REVIEW
“Polydoros doesn’t hold back with this heavy, dark, and gritty story that explores the immigrant experience in a unique way. While firmly a historical fiction title, this genre-bending novel is also equal parts thriller and fantasy. Featuring a queer protagonist, it is deeply layered with Jewish myth, immigration, racism, and anti-Semitism…. A wild ride of a queer gothic fantasy that’s a must-have for YA fantasy collections.”
—SLJ, STARRED REVIEW
“The City Beautiful is a triumph, showcasing queer love, illuminating historical events, and guiding readers to an enthralling ending that will leave them satiated yet desirous to return to the world in which they have become immersed.”
—Booklist, STARRED REVIEW