PositiveBookPageKing goes in an intriguing new direction ... Though this novel includes many classic King touchstones, its dedication to realism and intense, almost meditative focus on the titular main character make it a standout among his works ... King’s trademark skill with suspense and action is on display in several thrilling set pieces, including the breathlessly paced original hit, but this novel also stretches his literary ambitions. Much of Billy’s autofiction appears on the page in a book within a book that gives readers a deeper understanding of its main character. And while Billy shifts between personas and dons physical disguises with aplomb, his internal self comes more clearly into focus as he writes about his experiences and interrogates the stories he’s been telling himself about his past—and about himself ... By taking control of our stories, King suggests, we can begin to heal, find hope and even discover a truth that is more profound than reality. These resonant ideas provide a somber counterpoint to the action in this contemplative thriller.
RaveBook PageThis is a fearless finale that brings the big question of the Hunger Games Trilogy—the ethics of using force, be it political, physical or psychological—to the forefront as Katniss and her allies attempt to overthrow President Snow and create a new Panem ... Collins, like Katniss, is a realist above all: The effects of war on civilians and conspirators alike are unflinchingly documented, and the grim tone established in the opening pages dominates. But the book is not without its moments of grace, and the powerful conclusion should leave readers with a better taste in their mouths than the much-maligned endings of other popular series. Haunting and meditative, Mockingjay is a wrenching finale to a trilogy that will be read and discussed for years to come.
RaveBookPage... a crowd-pleasing page turner. Atwood leans in to the attractions of both her original novel, with its Scheherazade-style narration, and the TV series, with its resistance-minded heroine ... If a book must be groundbreaking to be a true classic, The Testaments can’t be ranked alongside its predecessor. Today, the divide between genre and literary fiction is more porous, and dystopian fiction is an established genre—in large part thanks to novels like The Handmaid’s Tale. But just as The Handmaid’s Tale was a response to the backlash against the women’s movements of the 1970s, The Testaments is equally of its time, drawing from contemporary politics in ways that resonate. Atwood remains a keen chronicler of power and the way status (or lack thereof) affects how it is leveraged, and seeing her explore that issue in Gilead once again is a pleasure.
PositiveBookPage\"Lost Children Archive isn’t a stream-of-consciousness story, but it reads almost like a memory ... Luiselli is a deliberate yet imaginative writer, and her work as an advocate for asylum-seekers informs the novel’s skillful blend of family story and issue-driven themes. The characters join a long line of people forced to face separation and relocation to unfamiliar territory, their current situation an echo of so many others, from enslaved Africans to Apaches and today’s child refugees. These echoes will remain in the mind of the reader as well.\
Sarah St Vincent
PositiveBookPage\"... readers unfamiliar with Uzbekistan’s human rights history (likely most of them) will find this novel especially eye-opening. Ways to Hide in Winter makes it clear that you can hide for a season, but spring thaw will catch up to you eventually.\
PositiveBookPageIt’s a tender mother-daughter story that alternates between 1980s Brazil and present- day Los Angeles, two places that Park—who was born in Brazil and lived in Los Angeles for years—knew well ... As chapters alternate between Mara’s past in Brazil and her present-day life in California, Park explores what it means to care for someone and the beauty of human resilience and survival.
PositiveBookPageUneven and slightly indulgent, Gary Shteyngart’s fourth novel, Lake Success, nevertheless charms thanks to the author’s trademark warm-hearted humor and practiced satirical eye ... Shteyngart reveals America’s frailties with darkly mocking humor that never swerves into nihilism. He is likewise forgiving of his characters’ many failings ... Nevertheless, the verve of Shteyngart’s writing keeps the pages turning and makes Lake Success an overall winner for readers.
Meghan MacLean Weir
PositiveBookPage[A] propulsive debut novel ... The tentative trust that grows between [the protagonists] gives The Book of Essie emotional depth, and the questions at its center have a surprising moral weight. Readers will root for Essie through every twist and turn of her story.
PositiveBookPageEach point of view (and there are many) feels distinct; often, the same events are shown through the eyes of different characters, adding dimension. Although some readers might find it disorienting to be launched into another point of view just when they’ve settled into the current one, the novel’s nonlinear, fragmented structure reflects its themes of disconnection and the uneasy mental states of most of the characters. Messy, meandering and occasionally illuminating, The Comedown is a family saga that recalls real life.
RaveBookPage\"[Miller] unfurls the story of the legendary witch from Homer’s Odyssey with lyric intensity ... The elemental allure of mythology, with its magic and mystery and questions of fate and free will, is presented here with added freshness that comes from seeing this world from a female perspective. Like its heroine, this is a novel to underestimate at your peril.\
RaveBookPage\"The Afterlives is a mordantly funny and deeply human look at one man’s quest to find out what happens after we die ... [Pierce] displays a nimble sense of humor and wild creativity ... Maybe knowledge of life after death is a futile quest, but Pierce’s intelligent debut proves there’s still something to gain from pursuing it.\
RaveBookPageThough the story at times might feel meandering, Krauss is always in control. The myriad literary allusions and her ruminations on the nature of story and on boundaries of all sorts—including those of reality—deepen the journeys of her two main characters. Like Krauss’ previous books Great House and The History of Love, Forest Dark slowly builds to a powerful emotional crescendo and an ending that feels revelatory. Haunting and reflective, poetic and wise, this is another masterful work from one of America’s best writers.