Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 383
Pulse-pounding historical fantasy thriller
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
N/A
Characters
 
N/A
Writing Style
 
N/A
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
In 1893 Chicago, Jewish boys are disappearing. At first, Alter Rosen thinks that they have left for different opportunities like many boys have done, but when dead bodies start showing up, including that of his best friend, Yakov, he knows something is up. To make matters more complicated, Alter has been possessed by Yakov’s dybbuk, who is intent on getting revenge. Alter is then thrust into a world of danger and corruption, and he will have to solve the mystery of Yakov's death if he wants to be freed.

3 Reasons to Read THE CITY BEAUTIFUL:

1.) The romance: At first, I wasn't sure what direction the romance would go, but I was soon won over by the intense chemistry between Alter and Frankie. Alter and Frankie parted on bad terms almost a year ago, but now that they have to work together to solve the mystery, feelings start to come back stronger than ever. I loved their banter, but even more so, the vulnerability and honesty they had to show to each other to get to a healthy place.

2.) The setting: Historical fantasy is my favorite mash-up of genres, and Aden Polydoros brings 1893 Chicago to life. The World's Fair is a significant cornerstone of the story, but the rich, detailed pieces that bring the setting to life are Alter's street, his building, and even his workplace. It is in those spaces more than anywhere where the reader sees what day-to-day life was like for some people, what challenges and discrimination they faced, and where they found joy in community.

3.) The mystery: The mystery is THE CITY BEAUTIFUL is layered, complex, and (for my part), impossible to figure out ahead of time. Through the mystery of Yakov's death and the other murdered Jewish boys, Polydoros's cleverly reminds the reader that evil comes in all shapes and forms, and it is dangerous to assume anything is or isn't linked.

With intrigue, romance, and gorgeous prose, THE CITY BEAUTIFUL is easily one of my favorite thrillers of the year.
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