Reviews of the Week: Hope Jahren, Kate DiCamillo, Jill Lepore, and More

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 February 15–19 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.

Lab GirlTuesday February 16

Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren

While growing up in a cold place with an undemonstrative mother, Jahren found warmth and happiness in her father’s laboratory at a Minnesota community college, thus setting the course for her own groundbreaking scientific quest. An award-winning geochemist and geobiologist with a love of language, self-deprecating humor, and valiant candor, Jahren presents an exceptionally compelling and enlightening memoir.

Raymie NightingaleWednesday February 17

Raymie Nightingale, by Kate DiCamillo

As 10-year-old Raymie tells it, the only way to bring back her father, who has run away with a dental hygienist, is to become 1975’s Little Miss Central Florida Tire. Surely when he sees her photo in the newspaper, he will come home. But first Raymie must learn to twirl a baton, which is how she comes to be at a twirling lesson flanked by world-weary, subversive Beverly Tapinski and fabulist Louisiana Elefante, a girl stronger than her penchant for fainting would make her seem.

Joe Goulds TeethThursday February 18

Joe Gould’s Teeth, by Jill Lepore

Intrepid historian and commanding writer Lepore (The Secret History of Wonder Woman, 2014) investigates the troubling story behind two celebrated New Yorkerprofiles by staff writer Joseph Mitchell about Joe Gould (1889–1957), a legendary, indigent eccentric who was taken up by the likes of e. e. cummings and Ezra Pound and who claimed to be writing a massive, groundbreaking book, The Oral History of Our Time.

I Woke Up Dead at the MallFriday February 19

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall, by Judy Sheehan

Any reader who loves snarky, sarcastic teens, ghost stories, romance, and loves/hates to shop will enjoy 16-year-old Manhattanite Sarah’s shock at dying and waking up at Minnesota’s Mall of America. “I never once considered that the afterlife was in Minnesota,” she muses. But not only is she dead, she has been murdered—and, worse, she is still wearing the hideous mango-colored bridesmaid dress she died in at her wealthy father’s second wedding.




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Sarah Grant is the Marketing Associate for Booklist. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Grant.

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