I was a little bit more discerning in my picks this month. I rated several other books with 5 stars, but these are the best of the best. Hopefully, you’ll find something that interests you. As in the past, I’ve provided a short blurb (the last paragraph of my full review), and you can click the title through to my full write-up. Feel free to comment below.
Sadie is a special book, one of my favorite books of the year. In the author’s words: “It’s about a girl who disappears on the hunt for her sister’s killer & the podcast dedicated to finding her.” My review for Sadie is a little bit different. I wrote a tongue-in-cheek letter to Summers about losing sleep while reading her novel. The Girls is a podcast that was adapted from the novel. It is very good too. #FindSadie
Never Ran, Never Will belongs on the shelf next to Kotlowitz’s There Are No Children Here, Wojnarowski’s The Miracle of St. Anthony, and Coyle’s Hardball. This is an important book that poses real questions about what will fill the void if football and other sports disappear from inner cities. The author cares enough to look at all the factors that affect this neighborhood, and confesses in the introduction that he is one of the people who has moved into and gentrified these neighborhoods. His honesty provides a clear view, a transparency that only comes in the most honest and dedicated of writing. Thank you to Mr. Samaha for writing about these boys and their devoted mentors.
Katerina is at once a decent into alcoholism, a blistering tour of Paris, and a chance at reconnecting. It stirred up resentments and old dirty guilt, yet also past loves and memories of a time when we all care less about the consequences and more about the immediate pleasure that life gives. I was constantly questioning my own turning points: When did I shift my focus from the now to the next day to the future? Is it the shock of mortality from a death? Is it having children? It’s a short book, but it is one that left me with countless personal thoughts, and a continued appreciation for James Frey’s writing.
Heartland belongs on the shelf next to books like Desmond’s Evicted, Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, and Ehrenreich’s Nickle and Dimed. Smarsh’s book provides a strong voice for and about breaking the destructive cycles of families, the economics of class, and the fact that birth should not be the reigning mark of future prospects. Smarsh is a talented writer who tells the story of her grandparents, parents, and extended family with clarity and warmth.
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge: Not full review yet. I will post as link to the full review when it’s posted in a couple days.
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge takes me back to the whimsy and invention of classics like The Phantom Tollbooth, Willy Wonky, and The Yellow Submarine. A comedy of etiquette errors, of historical hilarities… it’s been a long time since I genuinely laughed out loud while reading a book. I might have snorted once or twice (no witnesses). It’s easy for me to say that Yeltsin’s iconic art style and Anderson’s wit make this one an instant classic in YA fantasy literature.