RaveShelf Awareness[A] heartrending debut novel that will likely be a book club favorite ... In an open letter to readers, Rum has said that while writing this story, she fought her own apprehension about breaking the code of silence that surrounds the Palestinian immigrant community, as well as her fear of adding to stereotypes against it. Luckily for readers, she chose authenticity over caution. The result is a raw, sympathetic look into a world where parents order girls in their teens to marry against their will, a woman who helps her daughter-in-law with a newborn is considered too soft-hearted, and spousal rape and abuse are blamed on the victims who are shamed into silence ... However, the picture is not without hope or light ... Crafted with thoughtfulness and empathy, A Woman Is No Man celebrates resilience and the courage required to speak out against an unjust way of life.
RaveShelf AwarenessPoetic ... Subramanian, who lives in New Delhi, never shrinks from the dangers and discrimination facing impoverished women, but she also gives her characters resiliency and hope in the form of each other. Whatever society may say about Joy\'s transition or Deepa\'s disability, the girls have boundless support from their clique, their wise and cunning headmistress and the mothers of Heaven. Subramanian\'s rich imagery conjures up the bustle of a diverse city where children live in poverty mere blocks from three-story homes where their mothers work as maids. With its heroic young cast, A People\'s History of Heaven has huge YA crossover potential, and its social commentary makes it a wonderful book club selection. As colorful as a Rangoli design, this bittersweet coming-of-age story will linger in the reader\'s mind.
PositiveShelf AwarenessIn this accomplished first novel, K Chess ... primarily tells the present-day story from Hel and Vikram\'s alternating points of view, [but] her multiverse gains further depth from transcripts of interviews with UDPs about events around the migration and life in the new New York City. Light, accessible science fiction elements enable the plot rather than take center stage. An allegory for refugeeism, othering and coping with staggering loss, Famous Men Who Never Lived will leave readers haunted by the UDPs\' broken past but hopeful for their future.
S. A. Chakraborty
PositiveShelf AwarenessChakraborty is master of her world, unafraid to play with cultural and class conflicts. Intricately plotted ... Readers new to Chakraborty\'s work should begin with The City of Brass or, at a minimum, study the included glossary and maps. For returning readers, the expansion of this mythology-infused world and the emotional fireworks of character reunions should provide plenty of incentive to rejoin Nahri on her journey. Political maneuvers, attempted assassinations and violent skirmishes build to a cliffhanger ending that leaves little room for a happily ever after in the next installment, though with Chakraborty\'s magic touch, anything is possible.
RaveShelf AwarenessFaye brings readers a feisty, feminist heroine ... stuffed with danger, luscious period clothing and zinging Jazz Age patter ... As only the best historical fiction can do, The Paragon Hotel captures a certain period in time and gives the reader ample opportunity to draw connections with the present day. Faye\'s talent sparkles like champagne bubbles and bugle-bead fringe on a flapper\'s gown.
RaveShelf AwarenessWritten in Eleanor\'s snarky, seething voice, this warped gem will throw readers off-balance with its mix of horror and humor ... With her irreverence, pluck and cringe-worthy mess ups, Eleanor often seems like a nonplussed chick-lit heroine who landed in the wrong genre, a deliciously successful gambit ... A raw exploration of grief and illness woven into a more traditional horror story, The Bus on Thursday will chill readers across the board.
RaveShelf Awareness\"My Sister, the Serial Killer is a short, sharp debut novel ... Beauty is a beast in this sly, absurd take on the black widow trope. Braithwaite\'s greatest trick lies in keeping the sisterly relationship believable, with Korede constantly scoffing in disbelief at Ayoola\'s shallowness and lack of common sense, yet always rushing in to tidy her sister\'s messes. While the serial killer plot device suggests the horror genre, My Sister, the Serial Killer has frequent overtones of dark comedy brought on by Ayoola\'s naïveté and lack of remorse ... This short chiller comes with a surprising bite and a reminder never to underestimate a pretty face—or a plain one.\
RaveShelf Awareness\"The narrator also tells anecdotes of other innocent people who encountered the monsters associated with Thistle, adding depth and scope to the threat much as Stephen King does in It. Moreover, the impermanence of setting and Keisha\'s vulnerability while sleeping in her truck, stopping in unfamiliar locations, ratchets up the tension ... Fans of the podcast [Welcome to Nightvale] will no doubt enjoy this expansion of Keisha\'s quest, but readers who have no familiarity with the story will likely appreciate its surprises and chills even more. Ultimately an endorsement of everyday heroism and community, Alice Isn\'t Dead resonates as a love story, a road trip novel and a campfire tale that taps into our most primal fears.\
PositiveShelf Awareness\"Like Kathryn, Park suffered from stomach cancer, which took his life at age 41. Some of his most powerful passages meditate on the horror of cancer, which Mara compares to torture ... While not an uplifting read, Park\'s final novel hums with quiet importance and thwarted promise ... [a] quiet, heartfelt story.\
PositiveShelf AwarenessTan draws an astute portrait of a staid family thrown into disarray in this assured first novel ... With its measuring of expectation against reality, What We Were Promised establishes Tan as a new talent with a sharp eye for the intricacies of human relationships.
RaveShelf AwarenessWith boundless imagination, Rajaniemi invents a mortal realm with a steampunk flair ... Sci-fi and fantasy readers longing to immerse themselves in a fascinating new world will love exploring Summerland, and its capable, determined female lead steals the show. This standalone begs for a sequel.
PositiveShelf AwarenessThough lightened with comedic moments, the quiet tragedy of familial resentment lies at the heart of the story. Li focuses steadily on the troubled relationship between immigrant parents and their American-born offspring ... A smart combination of Chinese American life, service industry travails and the ups and downs of belonging to a family, Number One Chinese Restaurant will make great discussion fare for book clubs.
PositiveShelf AwarenessChuck Palahniuk takes the United States\' divided politics to their extreme conclusion and proves along the way that his gift for social satire has only sharpened with time ... This pitch-black comedy achieves the aim of any great satirical work: it amuses, unsettles and leaves the reader slightly less sure of the boundaries of reality.
PositiveShelf AwarenessCarroll sets the bar high in a novel that shifts seamlessly between epic love story, the anatomy of a crisis of faith, family tragedy and trauma survival saga. While the separate parts initially seem tenuously connected, as the novel progresses they interlock to show the far-reaching impact of choosing one path over another as the moral right for a huge portion of the world population ... Carroll uses his thorough mastery of the philosophical underpinnings of Church history to buttress his portrayal of the deeply wounded souls linked to it. Both moving and enlightening, The Cloister will engross readers of any--or no--faith.
RaveShelf AwarenessMartin writes impressively about the inside of the human body, but even more incisively about the landscape of the metaphysical heart ... While readers may think they know the deep, dark secret from the get-go, in the end Martin pulls out bigger guns than expected, leaving forgiveness far from a foregone conclusion. Bittersweet and graceful, The Queen of Hearts marks Martin as a fresh voice filled with promise.
Mira T. Lee
RaveShelf AwarenessAn expansion of a short story published in the Missouri Review, Mira T. Lee's debut novel, Everything Here Is Beautiful, explores the relationship between two sisters, the eldest committed to protecting her spontaneous, joyful but mentally unstable sibling ... Lee's spotlight illuminates the stress mental illness places on families, the difficulties of navigating the healthcare system – though the United States' proves better than Ecuador's – and the resilience of family, whether formed by blood or by love. Like Miriam Toews's All My Puny Sorrows, Everything Here Is Beautiful is filled with unexpected, fragile moments of beauty.
PositiveShelf AwarenessAlthough immediately challenged to survive, Gork also faces the typical pits and pratfalls of a teenage human--with the inherent insecurity, shifting social alliances and mystery of how to break into the dating scene. Hudson often plays the awkward stage for a laugh, particularly in Gork's cheerful determination to court Runcita, which he refuses to acknowledge as a suicide mission. The pursuit leads Gork through the halls of his school, the Underworld and the lair of Dr. Terrible, a frenetic tour that constantly gives the audience new reasons to chuckle or goggle. Though the conceit of a high-tech society populated by dragons skews toward quirky, Hudson revels in his unusual world ... Big-hearted and gawky, Gork gives us a lovable loser sure to win the hearts of sci-fi readers and fans of offbeat comedies.