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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, Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar, by Alan Shipnuck. For more Reviews of the Week and other exciting lists, check out the always freely available Booklist Blog.
Monday, May 16
★ By Her Own Design, by Piper Huguley
When a pipe bursts in Ann Lowe’s studio, she has less than a week to recreate Jacqueline Bouvier’s wedding gown. This is not her first taste of hardship, though; she was raised by her seamstress mother and grandmother in Jim Crow–era Alabama, until she marries way too young and finds her way to Florida, where she begins to design for the wealthy women of Tampa. There, her patronesses raise money to send her to design school in New York, and eventually she opens her own shop, first in Harlem, then further down Lexington Avenue, where her white clients are more likely to visit.
Tuesday, May 17
★ When You Call My Name, by Tucker Shaw
Set against a backdrop of New York City in 1990, Shaw’s novel is narrated in the alternating perspectives of two young men, Adam and Ben, both on the cusp of 18. Adam has always lived in the Village, an only child with two loving, if somewhat unconventional parents. His life is fairly stable; he works in a video store and will attend NYU in the fall to pursue his passion—movies. Ben has left a toxic home to stay with his brother and pursue his own passion: the fashion world. Adam falls in love with Callum, and they have a restrained relationship, which only becomes clear when Callum tells Adam he’s HIV positive.
Wednesday, May 18
★ Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc, by Katherine J. Chen
Her battles began in her own home. In this revolutionary reimagining of Joan of Arc, the legendary figure is first shown not in gleaming armor winning glory on the battlefield, but as a girl sitting on the sidelines while boys from neighboring towns fight with rocks. Her father, Jacques, as cunning as he is cruel, hates her from birth because he bet she would be born a boy. He beats her mercilessly, even kills her dog as punishment. As she grows, her strength, skill, and size make her seem better equipped for the armory than the kitchen.
Thursday, May 19
★ The Lucky Ones, by Linda Williams Jackson and read by Reginald James
This story turns the clock back to Mississippi, 1967, where Ellis Earl and his family are crammed together in a home that shakes when the wind blows and is filled with hungry bellies. Despite his family’s hardships, Ellis Earl holds onto hopes and dreams of a better life—one with a family car, enough to eat, and a house that is safe and warm. He and his classmates are fortunate to have an encouraging and supportive mentor in their teacher, Mr. Foster. He inspires the children to develop pride in the Black community through their weekly “Necessary News for Negro Children” discussions and helps encourage Ellis Earl’s reading and perseverance. When Robert Kennedy makes a sweep of the area during his Southern Poverty Tour, the trajectory of our hero’s family changes forever.
Friday, May 20
★ Living & Dying in America: A Daily Chronicle, 2020-2022, written and illustrated by Steve Brodner
The COVID-19 pandemic still rolls on, but perhaps the worst has come and gone—and in Living & Dying in America, cartoonist Brodner captures hundreds of lives led and lost during the first two years of COVID-19 in the U.S. To those we’ve lost, he offers loving tributes, providing the reader an opportunity to connect with real people who are now gone to us. These portraits express humanity that large numbers can strip away, and they do so with a deceptively haphazard style. Brodner goes further by featuring the brave, the kind, and those who showed up and kept doing what needed to be done even when the risks to their own lives were increasingly great.
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