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 June 6 below, then dive into the week at hand with today’s Review of the Day, Agent Josephine: American Beauty, French Hero, British Spy, by Damien Lewis. For more Reviews of the Week and other exciting lists, check out the always freely available Booklist Blog.
Monday, June 6
★ The Science of Being Angry, by Nicole Melleby
Joey is the odd triplet out—literally, as the fraternal sibling to her two identical brothers, but also as the ticking time bomb of the family. She’s often gripped by an uncontrollable rage that she can only release by acting out, which usually manifests as hitting, pushing, or yelling. But these actions only provide a temporary reprieve, and her temper has cost her friends and is beginning to hurt her family. That’s when a school project on genetics and genealogy gives her an idea. Joey loves her family, but their makeup is complicated. The triplets have two moms, who conceived them via IVF, so half of the siblings’ DNA is from an anonymous sperm donor. Joey latches onto the hope that her anger issues may have been inherited from the donor, and if she can find him, maybe he can tell her how to fix herself.
Tuesday, June 7
★ Cult Classic, by Sloane Crosley
Lola is engaged to the perfect guy. He’s a steady optimist, a talented and low-key artist, “smart without being esoteric,” and he lets her call him Boots (that’s not his name). Plus, she’s dated enough other guys to know he’s right. Right? Out in Manhattan’s Chinatown with friends, former coworkers at the now-folded Modern Psychology magazine, Lola runs into one of those guys. There’s a latent frisson, but she’s mostly happy to go home to Boots. Unusual circumstances send Lola to the same Chinatown spot the next night, where she runs into another ex. Soon she discovers that her friend Clive, Modern Psychology editor turned quasi-guru, is up to something, and the addictive result is like your favorite rom-com meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with a light soupçon of Ghostbusters.
Wednesday, June 8
★ City of Magic, by Avi
Fabrizio is a kind but naive lad and a devoted servant of Mangus the Magician, who lives in an Italian kingdom in 1492. When King Claudio orders elderly Mangus to travel to Venice and procure a book explaining a secret of acquiring wealth (Claudio’s misunderstanding of double-entry bookkeeping), Mangus must go. Thirteen-year-old Fabrizio accompanies him and, when his frail master falls ill, takes charge. During the journey, the boy thoughtlessly shares information with strangers, endangering their mission and their lives. In Venice, Mangus is immediately imprisoned. Befriending a local girl and a friar, Fabrizio attempts to complete his master’s quest, despite mortal danger from a rival in Claudio’s court as well as Venetian authorities.
Thursday, June 9
★ Honor, by Thrity Umrigar and read by Sneha Mathan
Mathan returns for her third outstanding collaboration with Umrigar, their shared Indian heritage again enhancing their author/narrator symbiosis. Accents, genders, ages, backgrounds, and emotions abound, but Mathan embraces diverse characterizations with effortless ease. In a remote Indian village, a young Hindu widow has gone public—too much a rare occurrence even now—with the heinous crimes she’s survived: egregiously claiming honor, Meena’s brothers burned her Muslim husband alive and left Meena unrecognizable. Shannon, a white journalist, has been covering Meena’s story, but impending surgery leads her to contact colleague Smita. Two decades have passed since Smita and her family fled Mumbai—return was never intended—but Smita nevertheless leaves her vacation to be a supportive friend, only to learn Shannon needs Smita to continue Meena’s coverage as her court date looms. At least Shannon offers Mohan, a local friend who happens to be rather available as translator and guide. Their initially combative relationship will, of course, eventually unravel the mysteries of Smita’s frozen past.
Friday, June 10
★ Hokuloa Road, by Elizabeth Hand
After COVID grinds his carpentry work in Maine to a halt, Grady Kendall takes a long shot and applies for a job as caretaker in Hawaii at an isolated island estate on Hokuloa Road owned by eccentric millionaire Wesley Minton. Grady’s fantasies of a Hawaiian paradise take a dark turn, however, when he’s warned upon arrival that the island tends to punish its inhabitants, and a glaring memorial to dozens of recently vanished people lends foreboding weight to those words. Later, on his own after Minton decamps to an outpost on sacred Hokuloa Point, Grady is confronted by evidence of the island’s lore: an otherworldly, dog-like creature appears near his cottage. When Grady links the creature’s warnings to the disappearance of a woman he befriended on the plane to Hawaii, he realizes he’s been chosen to either find the missing or join them.
Free Trial, activate profile, or subscribe