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 March 27 through 31 so that you can revisit the week’s best books.
Monday, March 27
House of Names, by Colin Tóibín
“Now it is your duty as the son of Agamemnon to revenge his murder,” the late Greek king’s son is admonished in Tóibín’s latest brilliant exploration of times past. His accomplishment here is to render myth plausible while at the same time preserving its high drama. The selfish side of human nature is a hoary, always fresh theme for fiction, made tangible and graphic in Tóibín’s lush prose.
Tuesday, March 28
Bubble, by Stewart Foster
Eleven-year-old Joe Grant has no recollection of being outside of his specially monitored hospital room. A rare genetic disorder, severe combined immunodeficiency, keeps him within the same four walls because the smallest thing can kill him. Alternating between lighthearted and heart-wrenching scenes and emotions, Bubble’s star power lies in Joe himself. His uplifting relationships with a nurse named Amir and Beth, who never lets the demands of medical school come between her and her brother, meaningfully unfold as Joe experiences the world from the inside looking out.
Wednesday, March 29
The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck
The last party at the ancient von Lingenfels castle is the occasion of a meeting of a group that is committed to resisting the Nazis. The narrative unfolds in a fluid way, with most of the action taking place in 1945, when Marianne, Benita, and Ania struggle through the harrowing last days of the war, and 1950, when they adjust to new, postwar realities. The reader is fully immersed in the experiences of these women, the choices they make, and the burdens they carry. Shattuck has crafted a rich, potent, fluently written tale of endurance and survival.
Thursday, March 30
Dividing Eden, by Joelle Charbonneau
The kingdom of Eden is surrounded by walls, with windmills that power lights to keep the city safe from monsters. Inside those walls, royal twins Carys and Andreus protect each other from gossip. Charbonneau makes her first foray into high fantasy with this series starter. The world of Eden is not always fully developed—readers will likely walk away with a few questions—but Charbonneau’s skill as a thriller writer will hook readers as the tension between the siblings grows and the brutal Trial of Succession rushes towards an explosive end.
Friday, March 31
The Breakdown, by B. A. Paris
Late at night in the midst of a storm, Cass Anderson is driving home through a desolate woodwhen she comes upon a car at the side of the road. Cass pauses, but when the woman alone in the car doesn’t signal distress, Cass continues home, neglecting to call police or a breakdown service about what she saw. The guilt about her inaction is compounded when she learns that the woman in the car was murdered that night. As guilt continues to weigh upon her, Cass becomes increasingly convinced that she has early-onset dementia. Is Cass going mad, or is something else at work here? This psychological thriller is even harder to put down than Paris’ 2016 best-seller debut Behind Closed Doors; schedule reading time accordingly.