Recent Reviews

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Off the Books: A Novel By Soma Mei Sheng Frazier Cover Image
Off the Books

This poignant debut novel explores the themes of grief and racism. Mei, a recent Dartmouth dropout, works as a chauffeur and is tasked with driving Henry, a wealthy young man, across the county. As they journey together, Mei must confront Henry's secret and her own grief. Despite the heavy themes, Mei and Henry's journey includes moments of joy and hope. Recommended by Samantha

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The Coin: A Novel By Yasmin Zaher Cover Image
The Coin

Compelling and unsettling, The Coin will stay with me, much as the narrator’s coin stays with her. I am left with delightfully unresolved questions and very mixed feelings toward this fascinating narrator. Teetering precariously on the ledge between sanity and insanity, she takes us into her life and her troubled mind. I enjoyed every (often quite surprising) moment of this excellent debut novel. Recommended by Nancy

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No Bullet Got Me Yet: The Relentless Faith of Father Kapaun By John Stansifer Cover Image
No Bullet Got Me Yet

A story of humanity in the midst of the hell that is war, No Bullet Got Me Yet is largely comprised of correspondence from Fr. Kapaun and from those with whom he served. It details Kapaun’s childhood in Kansas, his early years as a beloved priest, and his time as an Army Chaplain, most notably in the Korean War, during which he died as a POW. The actions of this playful and Christlike man, as described by his comrades, are stunning, heartbreaking, and most-deserving of sainthood. Though, just as Fr. Kapaun served soldiers of all religions, readers need not be Catholic to enjoy this story. The writing is at times fanciful and lacks a historian’s perspective, but I took what I needed with a grain of salt. Rick Adamson’s audio narration, however, couldn’t have been better. Recommended by Mary

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Old King: A Novel By Maxim Loskutoff Cover Image
Old King

The worlds of ecoterrorism, wildlife rehabilitation, the logging community collide through the lives of individual characters living in the backwoods of western Montana in this unsettling and yet gorgeous new novel. Little do his well-meaning neighbors know that Ted Kaczynski is making bombs that he hopes will destroy the military/industrial complex in his rustic little cabin on their road. Nor do they know how dangerously irritating he finds their friendliness and the noise of their off-road vehicles. The novel asks readers to ponder just how far their own tolerance could extend. Recommended by Kelly

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Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder: A Novel By Kerryn Mayne Cover Image
Lenny Marks Gets Away With Murder

Kerryn Mayne's Lenny Marks Gets Away With Murder sets the bar high for other summer reads. But it's far more than a summer read. The character of Lenny will steal hearts with her pluck, kindness, and resilience. As the novel begins, she has her life neatly ordered in rows, but when she "rescues" an abused dog from a neighbor's yard and when her own abusive stepfather resurfaces for his parole hearing after years in prison, she must face the chaos and possibility that such disruptions bring. Recommended by Kelly

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Mammoth By Eva Baltasar, Julia Sanches (Translator) Cover Image
Mammoth

In her short novel Mammoth, Eva Baltasar strings words together with the tension of a hot wire. The protagonist seems to view the world with a detachment one could liken to a grotesque Ernest Hemingway. Readers will find it difficult not to squirm reading about cat carcasses and the protagonist being aroused by a flea in her bed, crawling further and further up her thigh. Likely, readers will observe the main protagonist with love and disgust as she navigates her way through a world that has little regard for her. Recommended by Manda

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We're Alone: Essays By Edwidge Danticat Cover Image
We're Alone

At the very beginning of Covid, before public gatherings were shut down on a small campus in Florida, a group of people gathered for a funeral and observed, "It will be hard not to touch each other." This is the passage that encapsulates Edwidge Danticat's We're Alone for me. This series of essays is an invitation to come in close and share the kinds of secret things you would with a close friend in a quiet space. These essays weave together the concepts of loneliness and community seamlessly and are all beautifully relatable. Recommended by Manda

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Cloud Missives By Kenzie Allen Cover Image
Cloud Missives

While Kenzie Allen is being referred to as a new voice in poetry, it is very clear that there is something old and deep about her perspective and her work. Cloud Missives is a collection of poems that cover the expansive and shared space between Indigenous history and modern pop culture and the love that holds them together. It is a beauty. Recommended by Manda

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Brittle Joints By Maria Sweeney Cover Image
Brittle Joints

Reading an expert from Maria Sweeney's Brittle Joints is an intimate peak into Sweeney's experience growing up with and living with chronic pain. The art matches the delicacy and chaos that go along with being trapped in a body that you love and hate equally. Sweeney is a unique voice and a breath of fresh air in the graphic novel world. Recommended by Manda

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I Was A Teenage Slasher By Stephen Graham Jones Cover Image
I Was a Teenage Slasher

Crying because my heart aches for the slasher? This cannot be right. Count on Jones to turn the genre on its head. Tolly, the slasher, tells his bloody, horrific story in a voice so real and raw that you can almost hear him, as though seated right beside you, and feel every detail of his inescapable pain. Jones has once again created an unforgettable character - one who takes his readers on a tragic and gory, yet surprising, journey. Recommended by Nancy