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 28–April 1 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.
Monday March 28
Drag Teen, by Jeffery Self
Seventeen-year-old JT has a dream: he wants to become a drag queen. But his one experience in drag—a school talent show—was a disaster, so he is dubious when his boyfriend, Seth, announces his discovery of the Miss Drag Teen Scholarship Pageant in New York and insists that JT participate. Because this seems to be his only chance at the scholarship he needs to go to college, JT reluctantly agrees.
Tuesday March 29
Heat & Light, by Jennifer Haigh
In the same way that characters from Haigh’s Baker Towers (2005) dealt with Bakerton nearly becoming a ghost town after the Pennsylvania coal mines were shuttered, the characters here face similarly big changes as fracking comes to the area. Neighbors and friends find themselves at odds as Bakerton farmland is snapped up around them by unscrupulous developers, who sweet-talk their way into the rural area and lay waste to the land.
Wednesday March 30
Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, by John David Anderson
When Ms. Bixby tells her sixth-grade class that she has cancer and will be leaving before the school year ends, her students are stunned. But the following week, when they learn that she’s already gone into the hospital to start treatment several days early, three boys swing into action, carrying out an ambitious (and mostly legal) plan to create a grand gesture of appreciation, bravado, and connection.
Thursday March 31
The Hour of Land, by Terry Tempest Williams
Williams (When Women Were Birds, 2012), an ardent, often rhapsodic, always scrupulous witness to the living world and advocate for the protection of public lands, celebrates the centennial of the National Park Service in this enrapturing and encompassing chronicle of her deeply inquisitive, meditative, and dramatic sojourns in a dozen national parks.
Friday April 1
Meet Me Here, by Bryan Bliss
It’s the night of Thomas’ high-school graduation, and he is agonizing over what’s happening the next day. He has enlisted in the army, just like his dad and brother, and he is set to go to training first thing in the morning. But his brother, Jake, came back from the war deeply broken, and Thomas is afraid of ending up like him—a man fading away to almost nothing.