Ocean Vuong's prose combines the beauty of his poetry with artful characterization and narrative structure. This book explores the complexities and contradictions of familial and romantic love, the act of creation, and the definition of one's own being. Despite the weight of its subjects, it reads quickly. In short, I loved it.
The next book in Kiersten White's retelling of Arthurian legends brings new adventures and explores the world outside of Camelot. It further entangles the mysteries, magic, and romances of the first book. White's development of not only the main character, but of all the supporting characters is thorough and careful. Can't wait to find out how this trilogy wraps up!
In addition to perfectly hitting the beats of YA fantasy, this fresh fairytale retelling shows how patriarchy and heteronormativity twist stories for dastardly, political ends. In Sophia's country, women are forced into modesty, beauty, and servitude, like the tale of Cinderella from 200 years ago. Sophia, brave and determined, knows that something is amiss with Cinderella's story as the palace presents it and runs away from the ball, not to find a prince, but to stop a king. With plenty of bravery and a tinge of magic, Cinderella is Dead is equal parts critique and love letter to fairytales and fantasy. Best of all, it puts young, queer, Black women at the forefront of revolution.
Rory Power's sophomore novel moves her nature horror from the woods of New England to the plains of the Midwest, proving that she can make anywhere unsettling. Her raw, gut-punching writing brings heartbreak and unease from the very beginning of Margot's desperate search for family. Vivid, gripping, and just totally bonkers, BURN OUR BODIES DOWN is both a cautionary tale about seeing only what you want to see and a story of hope for those from manipulative families. In short, Rory Power does it again.
This pulse-pounding science fiction thriller touches on survival, feminism, friendship, and environmentalism at a girls' boarding school in a dangerous, mutating forest. Rory Power's writing gives a distinct voice to every one of these multi-faceted, engaging characters. Her skillful and shifting prose fills every breath with real emotion.
In VERONA COMICS, Jennifer Dugan takes so many tropes of a teen rom-com and transforms them into something refreshing, original, and at moments, heartbreaking. Hyper-driven classical musician Jubilee and anxiety-ridden Ridley meet at a comic book convention where Ridley's dad is desperate for his corporation to buy out Jubilee's stepmom's indie comic book shop. Using that Romeo and Juliet framework, Dugan brings attention to issues of mental health, not-quite-healthy romantic relationships, and complicated family dynamics. This book is sweet and speaks to teen experiences that often slip by unnoticed. Plus, how could any indie bookseller not appreciate how much love Dugan gives indie comic shops in it?
How can I tell everyone in this dimension (and the next one over) to read Chosen Ones? Sloane the protagonist lovable in her unlikeability, a sharp and twisting plot, and keen worldbuilding are enough reason to read this book. The writing, especially the different articles, textbooks, and other forms of media Roth seamlessly emulates and infuses into the narrative, stitches all those elements together with charm.
Ridiculously funny and rife with the familiar embarrassment of one's teenage years, Lou Parker's quest for the perfect summer (despite having to wear a hot dog costume at her job) is pure delight.
Hawaiin myths and stunning storytelling give shape to this remarkable family saga. The beautiful, gut-wrenching prose draws you in and holds you tight. A captivating debut!
Adorable! Delightful! A hug of a book!
Kiersten White gives a great take on Arthurian legends for lovers of the source material or for any fantasy lover seeking intricate characters, a twisting plot, and a richly layered world and magic system.
From errands to apocalypse, the ever astute and witty Zadie Smith captures a modern experience and creates a bustling city within this short story collection. Her play with language and form induces an ineffable, almost manic frenzy. I understand yet puzzle over every sentence in the most delightful way.
When a young, desperate artist accidentally captures a boy falling to his death in a photograph, she must decide if the acclaim she knows the picture will bring her justifies the torment its showing will bring the boy's parents. A rich artist's coming-of-age that wrangles with the morality of ambition and the desire to be loved, set in a now gone New York of the 1990s.
Delightfully illustrated and printed on high quality paper, NOODLEPANT combines the silliness of a noodle-loving elephant with the important lesson of standing up for equality. Charming, sweet, and great for kids AND adults!
Equally descriptive and analytical, "Literary Landscapes" travels across the literary canon to show how place has shaped literature's most famous stories and how place becomes a character itself. Not to mention, the beautiful illustrations.