Unfortunately, your access has now expired. But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 200,000 reviews.
Your access to Booklist Online has expired. If you still subscribe to the print magazine, please proceed to your profile page and check your subscriber number against a current magazine mailing label. (If your print subscription has lapsed, you will need to renew.)
Free Trial, activate profile, or subscribe
The Booklist Review of the Day, posted to the top of the Booklist Online home page each day of the week, spotlights exceptional upcoming titles that are notable for different reasons—they may be starred, in high demand, or especially relevant to the current issue’s spotlight.
The Reviews of the Week, posted each Monday, offers a comprehensive look at the previous week’s awardees—while also piquing interest for the week ahead. Catch up on the week of March 14 below, then dive into the week at hand with today’s Review of the Day, One Italian Summer, by Rebecca Serle and read by Lauren Graham. For more Reviews of the Week and other exciting lists, check out the always freely available Booklist Blog.
Monday, April 4
★ Inheritance: A Visual Poem, by Elizabeth Acevedo and illustrated by Andrea Pippins
Acevedo’s poem “Hair,” which was written for a thesis in 2009 and went viral with her spoken-word performance in 2014, has now been beautifully adapted as a visual poem with the help of Pippins in Inheritance. In this small book, every square inch of every page is full of color and visual depictions of the poem’s evocative lines. The palette in Pippins’ illustrations—every shade of brown and warm terra-cotta earth tones—echoes the poem’s sentiments. When Acevedo writes of hair strangling the air, the page seems to be swallowed by curls. A Dominican hair salon, a person with straightened hair shining like the sun, two people coming together “like sugarcane” and creating babies with beautiful hair whom they will teach to love themselves are all literally and figuratively illustrated in a combination of traditional hand-drawn and digital paintings.
Tuesday, April 5
★ Vera Kelly Lost & Found, by Rosalie Knecht
Former CIA agent Vera Kelly is now a decidedly settled, 30-year-old Brooklyn PI. She’s even quit smoking and plans to buy a piano for her beloved opera-composer/bartender girlfriend, Max. It’s 1971, and as rumblings of the Gay Liberation Front echo in the backdrop, Vera and Max live a comfortable, quiet life together. But when Max is pulled back to her estranged family’s vast Bel-Air enclave, the tranquility is shattered. Away from their community, the two are uneasy, fearful, unmoored, and sink back into past insecurities. Sanguine Max goes on the attack in the face of family drama, and cool, stalwart Vera falters—she can’t protect Max like she wants to. Then Max disappears, and Vera realizes there is no good explanation.
Wednesday, April 6
★ Resistance to Slavery: From Escape to Everyday Rebellion, by Cicely Lewis
Lewis’ Read Woke brand grows with the addition of the American Slavery and the Fight for Freedom series (6 titles). This selection, though centered on the enslavement of Africans, is broad in its scope, starting with a nod to the 1619 Project and ending with a look at Black Lives Matter protests. The unifying thread is Black people’s acts of resistance, both small and large, against having their rights and freedoms violated. Approaching the topic of slavery in this way marks a compelling shift in how this period of American history has traditionally been told. Indeed, Lewis tells it like it is (“Slavery was rooted in white supremacy”) without letting the text become politically charged.
Thursday, April 7
★ Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments, by D. Watkins
In this memoir, author and prolific essayist Watkins (We Speak for Ourselves, 2019) delves into his boyhood through a series of personal stories that illustrate how Black boys are all too often forced into a facade of manhood as a method of self-preservation and protection. Through his relaying of memories, Watkins critiques the patriarchal structures of violence, abuse, and emotional guardedness that have impacted his coming-of-age, the East Baltimore community he grew up in, and, largely, Black men everywhere. Watkins writes from a place of nuanced vulnerability, sharing, for instance, both the love he has for his father and the traumas of being raised by a man battling addiction during the height of the so-called war on drugs.
Friday, April 8
★ Together We Burn, by Isabel Ibañez
Romance, intrigue, and drama weave together in this magical, ethereal romp, inspired by medieval Spain. Eighteen-year-old flamenco dancer Zarela Zalvidar descends from a family of Dragonadores, people who fight dragons in arenas before great crowds. One day, Zarela’s father, the greatest Dragonador of all time, is tragically injured, and Zarela is left to take care of La Giralda, the family’s home and arena. Though music runs through Zarela’s veins and she lives to dance, she realizes that the only way to protect her family is to become a Dragonadora herself. Her conviction only grows when she discovers that her dad’s accident may have been planned by someone attempting to destroy her family’s legacy.
Free Trial, activate profile, or subscribe