A Two-for-One Take on ‘Ninth’s

The nice thing about being a little late to the game is that often the books I love already have sequels or the authors have otherwise published other work, so I can linger a little longer in the world or language than I would have if I had read them when the ink was stillContinue reading “A Two-for-One Take on ‘Ninth’s”

‘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”

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’”

‘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”

‘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”

It’s Easy to Fall Under the Spell of ‘Gothic’

One of the most pleasurable threads running through Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic is that the book’s heroine, Noemí Taboada, can be in the throes of spooky secrets and acutely in danger and still take a moment to consider her outfit. For example: “Noemí changed into a polka-dot day dress with a square neck. She hadContinue reading “It’s Easy to Fall Under the Spell of ‘Gothic’”

‘Exhalation’ is a Breath of Fresh Air

The thing that is striking about Ted Chiang’s work is how well thought out everything is. His are not stories that blossom from a singular thought. His are not suppositions of a singular event spun out a different way. When reading his stories, you get a strong sense that the ideas and the characters areContinue reading “‘Exhalation’ is a Breath of Fresh Air”

Summer’s Over but ‘Beach Read’ Still Sizzles

I have mentioned before how I’m not usually drawn to romance novels (and Kath, if you’re reading, I’m sorry for being a disappointment). It’s not that I hate love, I just struggle with several aspects of the genre. Namely, the heavy reliance on miscommunications and deus ex machina to provide a happy ending, as wellContinue reading “Summer’s Over but ‘Beach Read’ Still Sizzles”