After putting this off for almost two whole years and letting it just sit on my shelf gathering dust, I decided to finally pick this up and read it. I am glad that I did.
This story is based on Russian folklore, but primarily focuses on Ruby and her family in America. Ruby’s family is special. They have a way of knowing things, finding things out, interpreting objects, and they can see themselves when they die. They call this, their Time, a sacred moment in the lives of the women in this family. When a daughter has her Time, they throw a party and she writes it down in a sacred book and it is only read until after they die. Every time it has been accurate and true until one day when the Time that is read aloud to the family, is not how the woman died and everything in Ruby’s life is turned upside down.
Where do I start? Ruby is a typical teenage girl trope of no friends, into their own weird stuff, loves science, cares about her family, and single. Her best friend is her cousin Cece who she tells everything. But there is one thing she hasn’t told Cece, her time. I don’t want to give spoilers so I’m not going to tell you what her Time is, but I totally get why this girl has the attitude she does. There is a love interest in this story because of course there is, and I love him. His name is Dov and he is just sweet and charming and absolutely everything lovely that a teenage boy can be. I love their romance. OK so that is a spoiler, but honestly you guess it once you see it, OK?
I’m pretty impressed with the queerness of this book. It could very easily had been straight as a board, but it was filled with queer characters who were at the forefront of the story, not throw away side characters. There was also a really great exploration of duty and following ones own dreams/life path. This also explores familial relationships and how families can look all sorts of ways and can be complicated and full of love or mistrust or distance. It was nuanced and sensitive, and showed a desire to express all types of familial bonds. I’m excited to explore other works by Rebecca Podos, I know she has another book called Like Water and I think she has another book coming out this year so I’ll definitely see if I can get my hands on them.