Reviews of the Week: with Amelia Gray, S. D. Nelson, Gillian French, and More!

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 April 24 through 28 so that you can revisit the week’s best books.

pottymouth and stoopid - james patterson and chris grabensteinMonday, April 24

Pottymouth and Stoopid, by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

The latest Middle School tale from these hyperprolific coauthors features a decidedly unlikely but deeply satisfying twist that turns two seventh-graders haunted by nicknames bestowed in preschool into culture heroes. Readers will applaud as the two best buds not only see both the requisite bully (here, a girl) and a cast of clueless grown-ups receive proper comeuppance, but also find themselves at the head of a veritable army of geeks and brains with similarly disparaging nicknames. “Awesometastic!”

isadora - amelia grayTuesday, April 25

 Isadoraby Amelia Gray

Historical novels about artists abound, but few attain the psychological intricacy, fluency of imagination, lacerating wit, or intoxicating beauty of Gray’s tale of Isadora Duncan, the courageous mother of modern dance. As Isadora plunges into near madness, then slowly reclaims her artistic powers, Gray, performing her own extraordinary artistic leap, explores the nexus between body and mind, loss and creativity, love and ambition, and birth and death. The spellbinding result is a mythic, fiercely insightful, mordantly funny, and profoundly revelatory portrait of an intrepid and indelible artist.

red cloud a lakota story of war and surrender - s d nelsonWednesday, April 26

 Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrenderby S. D. Nelson

Nelson has written the compelling story of a world of conflict, told in the imagined voice of the great nineteenth-century Lakota warrior and chief Red Cloud, who recounts the history of his people. The story is enriched by Nelson’s beautiful illustrations executed in the nineteenth-century Lakota ledger-book style; they are accompanied by sepia photographs, and together give the book a hauntingly evocative period look.

Chuck Klosterman X A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century - chuck klostermanThursday, April 27

Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century, by Chuck Klosterman

Klosterman admits at the start of this highly entertaining collection of previously published pieces, mostly about music and sports, that gathering old articles is not something he particularly likes doing, although, on the other hand, he loves reading the indexes to his books. That’s Klosterman—honest, unpredictable, and fun. This addictively readable collection includes short and longish essays on musicians and athletes. Other highlights include a fantastic interview with the polite yet prickly Jimmy Page and a surprisingly poignant piece on Charlie Brown.

grit - gillian frenchFriday, April 28

 Grit, by Gillian French

The summer before senior year, Darcy joins her sister and her cousin, Nell, raking blueberries on a farm. There’s tension in the air, as Darcy keeps an eye on her nemesis, Shea. Only Darcy and Shea know what actually went down between them, and Darcy’s not telling. There’s renewed interest in Darcy’s ex–best friend, Rhiannon, missing since the summer before. There’s something Darcy is hiding to protect Nell. Any of these secrets could explode and rip Darcy’s life apart, but French stretches the suspense to the end. French’s unapologetic main character is resplendent with her sharp tongue, stubborn courage, and taste for hot sex. Keen plotting, evocative writing, and dynamic characterization make French a writer to watch.



About the Author:

Charlotte Chadwick is currently an intern for Booklist. A senior at Lake Forest College, she is studying creative writing and print and digital publishing. When she isn't writing short stories, there's nothing she enjoys more than drinking coffee and dodging questions about her post-grad plans.

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