Reviews of the Week, with Rachel Lyon, Joanne Rocklin, Lisa Halliday, 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 January 22 through 26 so that you can revisit the week’s best books.

 

Monday, January 22

 Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms, by Robert Paul Weston and Misa Saburi

“Hockey is in my soul,” says Conor, whose father actually played in the NHL for three weeks. Conor’s Japanese American mother died when he was two, but his recently divorced dad completely supports Conor’s devotion to the sport, though it means driving him to private lessons that aren’t easy to afford on a policeman’s salary. A stable, reliable kid, 11-year-old Conor is shaken when he learns that his dog, a Doberman named Sinbad, has cancer and requires expensive treatment. To save money, Conor gives up lessons and starts doing odd jobs for neighbors, but hearing his father cry at night makes him wonder if he’s still asking too much.

 

Tuesday, January 23

 Self-Portrait with Boy, by Rachel Lyon

Lu Rile is a struggling photographer working a series of minimum-wage jobs to pay for film and the rent for her loft in a converted warehouse in early 1990s New York City. As an artistic exercise, she challenges herself to create a self-portrait a day. Self-Portrait #400, taken in front of her window, accidentally includes a child falling to his death from the building’s roof. Lu is horrified by the photo but also immediately recognizes that it is the best work she has ever made.

 

Wednesday, January 24

 Love, Penelope, by Joanne Rocklin

For many Americans, June 2015 was a momentous month in history, but that’s especially true for 10-year-old Penelope, an avid fan of her home team, the Golden State Warriors, and daughter of two moms. (Spoiler alert: gay marriage is legalized, and the Warriors win it all.) In letters to her still-unnamed, soon-to-be-born sister, You, Penny chronicles the ups and downs of nine months in her own life leading up to her sister’s birth.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, January 25

 Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday

Halliday’s beautiful debut novel is written in three distinct parts. She deftly and subtly intersects disparate stories, resulting in a deep rumination on the relation of art to life and death.

 

Friday, January 26

 Checked, by Cynthia Kadohata

“Hockey is in my soul,” says Conor, whose father actually played in the NHL for three weeks. Conor’s Japanese American mother died when he was two, but his recently divorced dad completely supports Conor’s devotion to the sport, though it means driving him to private lessons that aren’t easy to afford on a policeman’s salary. A stable, reliable kid, 11-year-old Conor is shaken when he learns that his dog, a Doberman named Sinbad, has cancer and requires expensive treatment. To save money, Conor gives up lessons and starts doing odd jobs for neighbors, but hearing his father cry at night makes him wonder if he’s still asking too much.

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About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist. She worked in bookstores for twelve years, reviews books for The Boston Globe, and writes about books, culture, and politics for several other publications. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Genie.

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