‘Space’ Does SciFi Proud

I’m not sure how much Michaiah Johnson knows about architecture, but if The Space Between Worlds is any indication, she sure can construct a plot. The debut novel has an immaculately constructed plot with parallels upon parallels to itself and real life—which, as it happens, you almost forget exists after being immersed in Johnson’s world.Continue reading “‘Space’ Does SciFi Proud”

A Quest Fulfilled, with a Disappointing End

For the last several years, I have been on a Quest. Something like twenty summers ago, my precocious, scrawny little-kid self would go to the bookmobile library at every opportunity and come home with a stack of books practically as tall as I was (which wasn’t that tall then, but still). The picture books, earlyContinue reading “A Quest Fulfilled, with a Disappointing End”

‘Liars’ is Nothing Short of Magic

Early on in the pandemic, I sat in the antiseptic-drenched donation room of the Red Cross and tried to read The Butchering Art. It was, as I said at the time, a fascinating and exceptionally well-written book, but something about the written depictions of surgery theater and infection contrasting with the new fears of theContinue reading “‘Liars’ is Nothing Short of Magic”

Magic and Sisterhood Soar in ‘Witches’

I read a lot more than the books I review, sometimes because I get distracted by kinda trashy books or nostalgia (the less said about the intersection of these, my rediscovery of R. L. Stein books earlier this year, the better) and sometimes because I just can’t think of anything clever to say about aContinue reading “Magic and Sisterhood Soar in ‘Witches’”

‘Future’ Succeeds, Sort Of

Annalee Newitz is never short on a good concept. Their previous book, Autonomous, is all about androids and cyborgs and bootlegged prescription drugs and pirates. Their newest, The Future of Another Timeline, is packed with time travel and murder and political intrigue and wormholes. Despite the incredibly cool concepts in this book, though, reading Future feltContinue reading “‘Future’ Succeeds, Sort Of”

‘Luster’ Earns its Glow

The premise of Raven Leilani’s Luster is simple enough: A Black woman in her early 20s begins an affair with a middle-aged white man. Go down past the surface and you could expound on the fact that the man has been seeking for an affair with his wife’s permission, and that he and the mainContinue reading “‘Luster’ Earns its Glow”

‘There There’ a Gut Punch in the Best Way

There are a lot of characters—a full dozen POVs and a smattering of side characters—to keep track of in Tommy Orange’s There There. But even though reading the novel means keeping track of this person and that person as they appear and disappear within There There‘s various narratives, Orange’s considerable skill as a writer meansContinue reading “‘There There’ a Gut Punch in the Best Way”

‘Hollow’ Treads Familiar Ground, but Still Spooks

The Hollow Places made it onto my TBR the instant I knew it existed, which was, like, two weeks ago. I read T. Kingfisher’s The Twisted Ones soon after it came out last year and it gave me the willies, the creeps, and the heebie-jeebies, and I loved every minute of it. In The HollowContinue reading “‘Hollow’ Treads Familiar Ground, but Still Spooks”

‘Terra-Two’ is a Dreamy Adventure

We as a species love space. We love stories about breaking the fragile bounds of Earth and venturing forth to see what lies in the lonely dark beyond. We’re fascinated with the idea of sitting in a tin can, far above the world. And we love imagining all the places and things the people whoContinue reading “‘Terra-Two’ is a Dreamy Adventure”

‘Dead Queens Club’ Breathes New Life into History

I often struggle with YA books, and did even when I was squarely in their target audience, because it seems like most of them are built on the assumption that the reader wants to relate with teenagers. Which, yeah, is kind of the point, but high school, adolescence—it was a rough time for me andContinue reading “‘Dead Queens Club’ Breathes New Life into History”