Every weekday we feature a different review on Booklist Online. These reviews are notable for different reasons—they may be starred, or high-demand, or especially relevant to the current issue’s spotlight. We’ve collected the reviews from March 30–April 3 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.
Billy’s Booger, by William Joyce and illustrated by William Joyce
This meta-mash-up of comic books, basal readers, and a more linear narrative tells the author-illustrator’s own childhood story, steeped in nostalgia. Joyce, along with his fourth-grade self (according to the title page), recounts a single episode from his elementary-school years.
A Passion for Paris, by David Downie
David Downie (Paris to the Pyrenees, 2013) is a Paris transplant, a walking-tour guide steeped in Parisian lore, and an acclaimed writer. In A Passion for Paris, he seeks the source of the city’s celebrated aura of romance in those who fomented the “cultural revolt that turned Paris into the capital of Romanticism.”
Kissing in America, by Margo Rabb
One kiss. That’s all it took for 16-year-old Eva’s fantasy world of poetry and romance novels to become real. Sharing the grief of her father’s plane-crash death and her mother’s refusal to mourn with Will makes the memories and frustrations less harsh because, just as her romances promise, love conquers all.
Language Arts, by Stephanie Kallos
At two, Cody Marlow started talking to God. But just a few months later, he started losing his language, with God the last word to go. With Cody’s autism at its core, this story weaves back to his father Charles’ formative fourth-grade year, when he excelled in the Palmer handwriting method, entered a pilot language-arts program, won a citywide short story competition, and befriended the strange new boy, autistic Dana McGucken.
The Making of Zombie Wars, by Aleksandar Hemon
Droll humor has always been one weapon in MacArthur fellow and PEN/Sebald Award winner Hemon’s (The Book of My Lives, 2013) mighty literary arsenal, but he hasn’t unleashed the full magnitude of his comedic powers until now.