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 April 20–24 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.
Memory Man, by David Baldacci
Meet Amos Decker: former college football star, NFL player for one brief moment, police officer, and now a down-and-out private investigator. He sounds like a bit of a stereotype, and he probably would be, if it weren’t for something that sets him apart: due to a violent accident on the playing field, Decker now has hyperthymesia, a psychological condition that makes him unable to forget anything.
Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
The latest novel by the highly regarded author of Plainsong (1999), Eventide (2004), and Benediction (2013) is also, sadly, his last novel; Haruf died in November 2014. It will occur to readers that even one more word added to this short and spare narrative would break Haruf’s perfect harmony of place (a small town on the relatively empty Colorado plains), population (no-frills people just trying to maintain a decent existence), and plot (centering on two senior citizens seeking companionship).
The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club, by Phillip Hoose
When the Germans threatened to invade Denmark, the Danes capitulated with only token resistance on April 9, 1940, becoming an occupied country. This infuriated 15- and 16-year-old brothers Knud and Jens Pedersen, who formed a group of saboteurs and began cutting German telephone wires and defacing and reorienting directional signs.
Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink, by Juliana Barbassa
After 21 years of roaming the globe with her family and her career in journalism, Barbassa returned to Rio de Janeiro in 2010 as Brazil prepared for its bids for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. It had been a long time, but Barbassa was curious how the bid and the frenzied infrastructure changes it required would impact Rio’s tumultuous politics, gross inequalities, vibrant culture, and fragile ecology.
SuperMutant Magic Academy, by Jillian Tamaki
Like an angsty mash-up of Harry Potter and X-Men, Tamaki’s Ignatz Award–winning SuperMutant Magic Academy, originally a webcomic, explores the thrills and banalities of superhuman teens at boarding school.