PositiveThe Star TribuneBarnhill tells her story in loops and layers, delighting in invention and magic, in the preening personalities of crows, the mysterious knowledge of cats, in oak trees that tell stories and libraries that hold an infinite number of books.
PositiveStar TribuneIf much of the novel feels like a full-throated howl, an indictment of a system of gender apartheid, an alchemy occurs in the final chapters. Barnhill relaxes into her characters, and it\'s here that When Women Were Dragons really sings. The stakes feel more genuine as Alex navigates her first relationship and also grapples with letting Beatrice, whom she has parented for years, find her own path ... Written on the heels of that bruising Supreme Court battle, and before the current \'Don\'t Say Gay\' laws and push to ban books, When Women Were Dragons reminds us how difficult it is to put the knowledge of freedom back into the bottle and the cost to a society that tries.
RavePloughshares... inventive and lyrical ... By setting past and present side by side, and plunging us into human and nonhuman perspectives, Solà reveals the beauty and brutality of life in a mountain village that holds the scars of the past but also the seeds of slow repair and renewal ... Moving from the perspective of the rain clouds, the chanterelles, the bailiff, and the roe-buck, Solà moves through the story like a dance, flinging the reader from one elemental force to another ... [a] work of unexpected emotional power.
PositiveRain TaxiIf the gothic stories of Carmen Maria Machado use the monstrous to reveal hidden desires, ones we’ve forced into the subterranean spaces in our subconscious, Fu’s stories serve to recreate the shock of feeling in a landscape of disconnection ... Fu ends her tales of the monstrous on a hopeful note: We can know joy even in a world that is failing all around us. Our spirit sparks in the ruins.
RaveThe Star Tribune... the story takes off at a tear, with revelations and bodies piling up ... Debut author Angeline Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, takes her time setting up this world of interlocking histories and secrets ... Boulley doesn\'t shy away from the old-money entrenched racism from Daunis\' maternal family, and the ribbing and sometimes rejection she receives from her Anishinaabe relatives who assume she has a protection they don\'t from her family trust fund and her lighter skin. Some of the novel\'s best passages are the bawdy text exchanges between Daunis and her friend Lily ... Boulley has found a compelling vehicle to introduce readers to an Upper Midwest experience that is often invisible to non-Natives. She complicates the white default of the U.P. and immerses us in Anishinaabe language and culture ... [a] brash, refreshing storyteller.
PositiveThe Star TribuneThomas is a rich chronicler of the love that binds and the poverty that frays black communities. She slows down the story to detail the skills it takes to be a battle rapper, the judgmental nature of black congregations and even a stretch of trash-talking over a game of Uno when the power goes out at Bri’s home ... Readers hoping for the truth-bomb impact of The Hate U Give won’t find the same scope here. On the Come Up is a more individual, and personal, tale ... Laced with a deep love of hip-hop and community, On the Come Up, lets one poetry-loving teenager find her path.
PositiveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneThe plot takes off at a ferocious pace, with a spunky but barely educated orphan, Lyra, matching wits with brilliant scientist and explorer Lord Asriel at Jordan College in Oxford, where she is being raised by a cohort of elderly male scholars … Fans of Pullman’s earlier series will not be able to resist the pull of this new novel that returns readers to his alternate Europe with its swirl of fantasy, steampunk and danger intertwined. But those hoping for a satisfying conclusion to the earlier trilogy will have to be content with this appetizer and hope that the next two installments build to a full banquet.
MixedThe Minneapolis Star TribuneUnder the layers of plot and operatic melodrama, the constant scene changes and set pieces, Queen of the Night explores the question of what gives the courtesan her hold, her power over the hearts of men.