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 October 19–23 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.
Monday, October 19
Unspeakable Things, by Kathleen Spivack
Kathleen Spivack, whose father, famed management guru Peter Drucker, left Austria, his homeland, in the mid-1930s to begin his professional life in the U.S., portrays Jewish refugees from Nazi Austria in her hallucinatory first novel, Unspeakable Things. Herbert, a man of secrets and influence, tries to help others in his predicament, including the courageous, bizarrely afflicted Tolstoi String Quartet, even as his own family suffers.
Tuesday, October 20
Secrets of the Dragon Tomb, by Patrick Samphire
Things are amiss on nineteenth-century British Mars. Twelve-year-old Edward’s daft yet dashing cousin Freddie has dropped in unexpectedly, and something about his sudden appearance doesn’t sit right. Then, on the heels of his arrival, the unscrupulous archaeologist Sir Titus Dane kidnaps Edward’s parents and his oldest sister so that Edward’s genius father will help locate a hidden dragon tomb. It’s up to Edward, his two remaining sisters, and Freddie to rescue their family and stop Sir Titus.
Wednesday, October 21
Alice in Bed, by Judith Hooper
Doctors used to call it hysteria or neurasthenia or even suppressed gout. But Alice James, of the famous and troubled James family, had other difficulties, and, in truth, much of it had to do with being a free-thinking female in a male-dominated world. In her mesmerizing first novel, Hooper enters the individualist mind-set of the enigmatic Alice. “My personality was well concealed under a mask of Well-Brought-Up Young Girl,” Alice writes.
Thursday, October 22
Paper Wishes, by Lois Sepahban
Along with many other Japanese Americans on the West Coast in 1942, Manami, her parents, and her grandfather are evacuated from their home. When they leave Bainbridge Island, she manages to hide her beloved dog under her coat, but a soldier takes him away. Overwhelmed by distress and sadness, Manami stops speaking. Life is difficult for the family at the Manzanar Relocation Center. Troublemakers bring turmoil to the crowded camp and other changes come as well, but Manami and her relatives gradually find ways to cope and look toward the future.
Friday, October 23
C.O.W.L., v2: The Greater Good, by Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel
The first volume of C.O.W.L. (2014), about a unionized group of superheroes in 1960s Chicago, was arguably one of the best graphic novels of the year for its unique concept and abstract art, and this sequel handily lives up to its predecessor. With the death of a key member of the C.O.W.L. team and the return of supervillains to the streets of Chicago, C.O.W.L. director Warner manipulates city hall into a more favorable union contract, with the rest of the team hanging in the balance and paying the price for his actions.