Two thumbs up for The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros. Historical fantasy.
I have read a lot of excellent books this year but this one is in the Top 3. Alter Rosen, a young Jew in Chicago, 1893, is trying to keep his head down and raise enough money to bring his mother and sisters over from Romania. But boys from his community are disappearing—and the next one is his roommate (and crush). Therein follows a page-turning tale of (literal) spirit possession, vengeance, multiple mysteries, and young love, all set against the complicated and immaculately-drawn backdrop of the World’s Fair. This book could have been a mess, but it’s spectacularly good: you’ll feel like you’re there. You may not find that a good thing; for example, when the main characters kill a sex criminal in the lower level of a slaughterhouse and drop him into a stream of cattle viscera, I found it intensely satisfying, but read at your own risk. My one complaint is that it was packaged as YA fantasy just because the characters are young; it’s not at all that I think that it’s “too dark” to be YA, it’s that it’s not trendy enough; I think it would sell better to adults and I love it so much I don’t want readers to miss it.
I might have been his perfect enemy, but I would not be his perfect victim.
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