RaveBooklistGritty and devious, this debut thriller burrows into the idea of the revenge fantasy, and plot twists come so quickly that readers will be left breathless. A vicious, noir-soaked look at one way women choose to seize power in this world.
V. E. Schwab
RaveBooklistSchwab deftly weaves time and place, flitting between Addie’s frantic past and her grounded present while visiting intermittent July 29ths in between. Narratively, this is a whirlwind—deeply romantic, impossibly detailed, filled with lush language, wry humor, and bitter memories. This often startlingly raw story begs the questions: what is a soul? What does it mean to be remembered? And what prize is worth giving those things up?
PositiveBooklistLongtime fans of Cabot may find this second Little Bridge Island book (No Judgment, 2019) less engrossing than her Heather Wells mysteries and the romance less alluring than those in her Boy books. But for readers in the market for a quick, fun read—and especially for librarians who will appreciate the in-jokes—Cabot, reliably, delivers.
RaveBooklist... a world simmering with magic and treachery where no one is quite what they appear to be. With crystalline, sometimes sensuous prose, she digs into her characters’ motivations and manipulations, deftly keeping readers on the hook until the final, stunning turn.
PositiveBooklistAnna Karenina gets a Gossip Girl–infused reboot in Lee’s debut YA novel, which embraces the original novel’s vast cast and slow-burn pace. A distant third-person narrator may alienate some readers initially, but high stakes and the lavishness (and bad behavior) of elite Manhattanites will soon win them over. A twist ending will shock even the most devoted of Tolstoy fans—but that’s one secret we’ll never tell.
PositiveBooklistRoberson takes her cues—more directly—from the same myth that inspired The Hunger Games (2008), and the result is a sometimes violent, highly conceptual reimagining. This myth with modern trappings will have no trouble hooking an eager audience.
Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
RaveBooklistThe young reader’s edition of Malala Yousafzai’s 2013 memoir for adults loses none of its power in its transition to a new audience. At times earnest and somber, at others irreverent and playful, the 17-year-old details her experiences as an advocate for education in Pakistan—especially for women—both before and after she became a target of the Taliban. Although her efforts to attend school, and the subsequent attack she endured, make for a powerful story, Yousafzai writes just as vividly about her daily life as a child in Pakistan. As young readers draw parallels between their own lives and the everyday experiences of Yousafzai and her friends, they’ll gain invaluable perspective on a country so often stigmatized by the media. Yousafzai’s fresh, straightforward voice creates an easily read narrative that will introduce a slew of younger readers to both her story and her mission.
PositiveBooklistThe ever-delightful Cabot charms in her latest, which is equal parts sweet and steamy. Animal lovers unite—this one’s for you.
PositiveBooklistThe repeating first-date structure means things never get too intense between Sophie and her dates and keeps the focus on her relationship with her family. This piece-by-piece romance doesn’t need its Christmas theme to sell, but it makes it glitter all the more.
PositiveBooklistHitchcock gets a jolt of social justice in Milman’s ...sophomore novel. What could have been just a clever reconstruction of classic mystery conventions is elevated by wry humor and genuine emotional intensity. As a thriller, it’s twisted and engaging; as a character study, it has lingering, affecting aftershocks.
Melissa de la Cruz
PositiveBooklistAlternating narratives and layers of unanswered questions keep the pace moving quickly, and readers interested in domestic drama with ominous undertones will be hooked.
Erin A Craig
PositiveBooklistThis moody maritime retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses blends elements of suspense and horror for a gothic twist on a familiar tale. A memorably built world populated with a hauntingly doomed family.
RaveBooklistPrior-Palmer writes with grace, giving a measured, reflective account of the race she was unprepared for but still won ... An engaging profile of humans and horses, and a searing, soulful examination of endurance.
PositiveBooklist...this brief, potent gem paints a complete portrait of Prospero’s daughter—her past, her future, and her love—as it explores the full range of her voice. A glittering fantasy-romance that delves into the dark corners of human nature ... this queer feminist update will be catnip for literary teens.
PositiveBooklist\"For the most part, the action sequences are secondary in this intensely character-driven novel, which digs a human heart out of an apocalyptic wasteland. A precise, introspective story about the trajectory of grief.\
Laurie Halse Anderson
RaveBooklistIn the final section, Anderson’s focused, first-person narrative becomes more of a chorus as she recounts the stories that readers, female and male, adults but especially teenagers, have shared with her about their own experiences with sexual assault and harassment. The classroom benefit of this book is undeniable—it’s a primer on writing and on living, and both Speak and Anderson’s effect on teens has never waned. But more than that, it is a captivating, powerful read about clawing your way out of trauma, reclaiming your body, and undoing lifetimes of lessons in order to use your voice as the weapon it is. Fervent and deafening.
Tehlor Kay Mejia
PositiveBooklistLike the revolution, Mejia’s world is carefully built. With its achingly slow-burn romance and incisive examination of power structures, this is a masterfully constructed novel, made all the more impressive as it’s a debut. This timely examination of how women move through the world is potent and precise, and readers will be eager for the sequel.
PositiveBooklistThe many-tiered plot occasionally stalls, but this is an immersive, glittering debut that intriguingly blends history and fantasy. A striking examination of power, privilege, and choice in a limited world, that makes Trelease a new voice to watch.
RaveBooklist\"This second in a series neatly avoids the second-book slump; readers of the planned trilogy’s first volume will be expecting plot twists, so it’s even more impressive that this manages to stay one step ahead of its readers. Black expands the reaches of her brutally beautiful world and the depths of her deadly, vulnerable characters, and the employ of yet another cliff-hanger ending will leave readers agonized. A sinister, singular thrill.\
PositiveBooklistDespite the coyly turned woman on the cover, the first poem in this incisive collection is bold, baldly declaring ... Indeed, this is a collection that finds the wounds of childhood and new adulthood and presses on them ... there are echoes of Sylvia Plath in her odes to a hard and absent father, in her reflections on family history, and in her repeated explorations of the Minotaur myth. Brutal in execution but with a bitingly humorous undercurrent, this collection lays bare an image of femininity in our society.
Hieu Minh Nguyen
RaveBooklist\"...a collection that astounds in its intensity ... there is blazing life in every ferocious line. Hard to read and harder to put down, this collection will leave the reader feeling much the way the speaker seems to: bitter and hurt and longing to be seen.\
RaveBooklistGratton’s first novel for adults is a force to be reckoned with: she expands the world of Shakespeare’s King Lear and crafts a narrative that, despite its scope, never loses control. The basic plot remains, but the true accomplishment here is the characterization: Lear and his men slip quietly into the backdrop, more catalyst than character, while the women—the difficult, complex, astoundingly realized women—claim center stage. A darkly rendered epic of old magic, hard hearts, and complicated choices.