Every weekday, we feature a different review on Booklist Online that highlights starred reviews, high-demand titles, and/or titles especially relevant to our current issue’s spotlight. We’ve collected the reviews from February 27 through March 3 so that you can revisit the week’s best books.
Monday, February 27
Some Rise by Sin, by Philip Caputo
Father Timothy Riordan, a motorcycle-riding Franciscan friar, shepherds the flock in San Patricio, a small Sonoran town caught in the crossfire between La Mariposa, a drug lord and self-styled religious leader who heads the terrifying narcotics gang La Fraternidad, and a priest-hating, possibly psychopathic army captain advised by a corrupt policeman. Caputo writes about the complex and chaotic border zone with a reporter’s eye and novelist’s heart; few settings provide such depressing but rich fodder for an exploration of faith and morality. An old-fashioned novel in the best way, Some Rise by Sin explores the search for meaning in a place where the stakes are highest and does so with unwavering focus.
Tuesday, February 28
The Whole Thing Together, by Ann Brashares
In a world full of increasingly nontraditional families, Sasha and Ray have a particularly complicated situation. They share three sisters and a bedroom, but they’ve never met and aren’t related. The end is shocking and abrupt after the quiet unspooling of the earlier narrative, but at its heart, this is quintessential Brashares. Introspective questions of heritage are tied together, ultimately, by the bonds of family and the magic of summer.
Wednesday, March 1
The Undateable, by Sarah Title
College librarian Melissa “Bernie” Bernard likes things just the way they are: she enjoys her job and lives an easygoing, laid-back life in San Francisco. But a flash-mob proposal at her library ruins everything. Title’s print debut, the first in the Librarians in Love series, is fresh, fun, and hip. She has a real knack for writing realistic dialogue, creating well-drawn characters, and giving her scenes just the right amount of heat. Readers will adore Everywoman Bernie and her clever sense of humor, the snappy chemistry between her and Colin, and the spot-on situations they find themselves in.
Thursday, March 2
Round, by Joyce Sidman
Newbery Honor Book author Sidman captures the perfection of the simplest of shapes in this poetic ode to roundness. Each carefully written line of text shows readers how the mundane can become magical if you look closely. All of this elegant simplicity springs from the page through Yoo’s mixed-media artwork, so rich in subtle detail that children will always find one more thing to look at.
Friday, March 3
Dragon Teeth, by Michael Crichton
Discovered in manuscript form among the late author’s files, this new novel tells the story of one of the most notorious rivalries in the history of science: Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope, competing dinosaur-fossil hunters from the 1870s through the 1890s. The book is sure to garner a lot of attention—a posthumous book about dinosaurs from the creator of Jurassic Park—but it’s more than just a literary curiosity. It’s also a very good novel; in fact, taken among all Crichton’s novels, it’s one of his best, a beautifully detailed, scientifically engrossing, absolutely riveting story about the early days of paleontology.