"[P]itch perfect, with wit, romance, and a lovable found family." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"This smart and entertaining, magical heist novel hits all the right notes!" ―T.L. Huchu
NPR Best Book of 2022! Paste Best Fantasy Book of 2022!
"Never make a deal with shadows at night, especially ones that know your name.”
Washington D. C., 1925: Clara Johnson can talk to spirits—a gift that saved her during her darkest moments, now a curse that’s left her indebted to the cunning spirit world. So when a powerful spirit offers her an opportunity to gain her freedom, Clara seizes the chance, no questions asked. The task: steal a magical ring from the wealthiest woman in the District.
Clara can’t pull off this daring heist alone. She’ll need the help of an unlikely team, from a handsome jazz musician able to hypnotize with a melody to an aging actor who can change his face, to pull off the impossible. But as they race along DC’s legendary Black Broadway, conflict in the spirit world begins to leak into the human one—an insidious mystery is unfolding, one that could cost Clara her life and change the fate of an entire city.
The Monsters We Defy is a timely and dazzling historical fantasy that weaves together African American folk magic, history, and romance.