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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 June 6 below, then dive into the week at hand with today’s Review of the Day, The Last Karankawas, by Kimberly Garza, read by Becca Q. Co and others. For more Reviews of the Week and other exciting lists, check out the always freely available Booklist Blog.
Monday, November 7
★ Marcel’s Masterpiece: How a Toilet Shaped the History of Art, by Jeff Mack
“Come to dada!” Beginning with the salvaged urinal Marcel Duchamp retitled “Fountain” and turned on its head to do the same to the stuffier reaches of the art world, this pun-tastic ramble through the realms of the “readymade” serves as both a quick history of Dadaism and a manifesto of its ideas. Mack’s collage illustrations combine statements of purpose in randomly colored block letters, patches of explanatory background distributed among clipped and layered images of both fustian and free-spirited museum goers, glimpses of Duchamp as both himself with some of his creations and his female alter ego Rrose Sélavy, celebrity cameos from the likes of Picasso and Warhol to John Cage, and a notably diverse array of modern children running around and getting excited about art.
Tuesday, November 8
★ They’re Going to Love You, by Meg Howrey
In this novel about devotion, art, and love in many forms, fortysomething Carlisle is working as a freelance choreographer in Los Angeles when her father’s husband, James, calls to tell her that her father is dying. She hasn’t spoken to her father, Robert, in nearly 20 years. As she prepares to return to their apartment in New York’s West Village, Carlisle grapples with lost relationships and old wounds. The narrative shifts between 2016 and Carlisle’s adolescence during the start of the AIDS crisis, tracing the steps that led to her father’s decision to cut her out of his life.
Wednesday, November 9
★ Song in the City, by Daniel Bernstrom and illustrated by Jenin Mohammed
A cheerful, perceptive child helps her initially dismissive grandma hear the cadence of the city in this exuberant story with excellent disability representation. Bundled up over fancy dresses, Emmalene and Grandma Jean cross town on a bus one Sunday morning, hurrying to get to church. “Tickets BEE-BEEPED! Shoes CLICKITY-CLOMPED. RUMBLE went the engine in a rollicking romp.” Emmalene hears music all around her, whereas busy Grandma Jean hears only city noise, even after Emmalene’s chiding. Only once Emmalene covers her grandma’s eyes—artistically achieved through a powerful palette shift—can Jean hear the city’s song.
Thursday, November 10
★ What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez, by Claire Jiménez
Jiménez’s witty debut novel focuses on the ferocious love of a tight-knit Puerto Rican family on Staten Island at the height of the 2008 recession haunted by the disappearance of 13-year-old middle daughter Ruthy 12 years ago. The narrative features multiple perspectives: Ruthy’s point of view lends a coming-of-age feel as she deals with bullies and middle-school angst, and those of the ones left behind (dad Eddie died soon after the incident) highlight their ups and downs. Oldest daughter Jessica, 27, is a nurse’s aid and tired mom; youngest daughter Nina, 22, hoping to become a med student, works grudgingly at a lingerie store; mom Dolores, 44, a parenting coach at a Pentecostal church, suffers from diabetes and frets for her and her daughters’ safety.
Friday, November 11
★ We Deserve Monuments, by Jas Hammonds
Hammonds’ absolutely stunning debut follows Avery, whose life is unexpectedly turned upside down when she learns that her estranged grandmother, Mama Letty, is dying. Her family packs up their lives in D.C. and moves to small-town Bardell, Georgia, to help Mama Letty find comfort in her final days. In Bardell, Avery makes new friends, repairs hurting relationships, and digs into the racist history that has had a lasting impact on her family. This thoughtful and well-crafted coming-of-age novel will grip the reader’s attention from the beginning. Sympathetic Avery is fragile when she moves to Bardell—she doesn’t know if her D.C. friends actually care about her, and she has just broken up with her first girlfriend—but her immediate friendships and her growing rapport with the standoffish Mama Letty allow her to grow and explore her wants and needs.
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