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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, Marlowe Banks, Redesigned,by Jacqueline Firkins. For more Reviews of the Week and other exciting lists, check out the always freely available Booklist Blog.
Monday, September 12
★ Coming Up Cuban, by Sonia Manzano
Fifteen-time Emmy Award winner and Pura Belpre-honoree Sonia Manzano (fondly remembered as Maria on Sesame Street) explores the impact of the 1959 Cuban Revolution on four young people from diverse backgrounds. The lives of Ana, Miguel, Zulema, and Juan each represent different intersections of race and class in Cuba, and therefore, a unique set of experiences during Fidel Castro’s rise to power in this powerful new novel by Manzano. A full cast brings life to the experiences of these all-too-real characters. As their experiences overlap, their voices and stories meld into the big picture of the time. Each story is given ample attention and each narrator draws the reader in with a distinct style, pace, and Cuban accent. Special attention has been made to ensure the most authentic Cuban accents possible, when appropriate.
Tuesday, September 13
★ Adrift, by Tanya Guerrero
Half-Filipino Coral and Isa are more than cousins: their mothers are sisters; their fathers are brothers. It is no wonder they feel as close as sisters. This bond is tested when Coral and her family set sail on a long boat trip, only to get swept up in a tidal wave. The shock hits Isa hard, and though she holds out hope, it’s soon clear that she will have to accept that her “Star Sister” is gone. Except, she isn’t. Across the sea, Coral washes up on the shore of a lonely tropical island. Her parents missing, and food and water dwindling, she must gather all the skills her parents taught her to survive and get back to her home.
Wednesday, September 14
★ Book of Extraordinary Tragedies, by Joe Meno
Aleks, whose musical promise has been undermined by hearing loss, rides his bicycle everywhere in all seasons, works grueling jobs, gets expelled from community college, and always puts his dysfunctional family first. Seeking refuge from his ever-more-precarious life in a rough Chicago neighborhood, he composes richly conceptual symphonies in his head. Isobel, his musically gifted, thoroughly discouraged sister, a single mother, relies on Aleks to help care for her young daughter. Aleks and Isobel’s formerly dynamic librarian mother has taken to her bed; their larcenous father has abandoned them. Overwhelmed by the troubles of the world, their younger brother retreats into poignant obsessions, while their Sarajevo-born musician grandfather cites “the curse of history” as the source of this Polish Bosnian family’s bred-in-the-bone traumas.
Thursday, September 15
★ Where We End & Begin, by Jane Igharo
Igharo (The Sweetest Remedy, 2021) brings her cultural expertise and experiences to bear in this emotionally charged, dual time line, second-chance romance set in Nigeria and the U.S. Yoruba Nigerian Dunni and Igbo Nigerian Obinna meet at an elite secondary school in Lagos, where Obinna is a poor scholarship student. The connection between them is instantaneous and indelible, much to the disapproval of their mothers. Before graduation, they make a blood pact to always be true to each other and feel a seismic shift in their relationship. To please her parents, Dunni goes off to America to get her PhD in genetics, with the promise that Obinna will soon follow. But he does not answer a single email, text, or phone call, nor does he leave Nigeria.
Friday, September 16
★ Well, That Was Unexpected, by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Sharlot Citra is ready to take her relationship to the next level with her extremely good-looking American boyfriend, but her plans are astronomically foiled when her mother walks in on her. Sharlot’s traditional Chinese Indonesian mother is furious that Sharlot would even think about putting herself in that situation, and so she decides that she and Sharlot will go to stay in Indonesia for the summer. Being an ABC (American-born Chinese), Sharlot is not prepared for the cultural shifts and nuances of her mother’s native country, so she rebels against being there.
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