Reviews of the Week, with Paula McLain, Florence Gonsalves, Makiia Lucier, and More!

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 February 26–March 2 below, so you can revisit the week’s best.

Monday, February 26

 Love and Other Carnivorous Plants, by Florence Gonsalves

Danny and Sara had a plan—best friends forever, stretching from kindergarten to old age, with a stint at college in between. But when Danny gets into Harvard, the plan derails, and so does the girls’ joined-at-the-hip status. However, this is only part of the reason Danny can’t tell Sara the truth about her freshman year: struggling with classes, developing an eating disorder, and going through a treatment program that introduced her to the girl she just can’t get out of her head—and who seems to pop up when she’s least expected.

 

Tuesday, February 27

 Isle of Blood and Stone, by Makiia Lucier

Readers craving a captivating adventure will find that and more in Lucier’s brilliant fantasy. In St. John del Mar, the royal mapmaker disappears on the same day as the kingdom’s two young princes. Eighteen years later, two maps and a mysterious riddle are discovered and believed to be connected to the presumed deaths of del Mar’s princes, setting the mapmaker’s son Elias on the journey of a lifetime. With the aid of the new king (Elias’ longtime friend) and the king’s cousin, Elias endeavors to unearth what really happened to the lost princes. Along with the truth come secrets and unknown enemies that threaten both Elias and the future of del Mar.

 

Wednesday, February 28

 Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet, by Claire L. Evans

In this book, with its clever play-on-words title, Evans tells the stories of the many unsung women who propelled our computer age. As anyone familiar with Hidden Figures (2016) knows, early tech workers were called computers, as in someone who “computes, or performs computations,” and many of them were women. Thus, women were on the forefront of technology from the beginning. “We’re not ancillary; we’re central, often hiding in plain sight,” Evans notes.

 

Thursday, March 1

 Bullets into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence, edited by Brian Clements and Alexandra Teague

With the February 2018 Parkland, Florida, massacre, the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. has grown only more severe, with mass shootings occurring nearly every day now, and the deadliest of these taking place within the last 10 years. With government seemingly disinterested in taking action, it’s left to activists and artists to impact this tragic reality. This poignant, painful anthology of more than 50 poems includes difficult, beautiful entries by notable authors, a full roster of talented lyricists, as well as relative newcomers. Each poem cracks and bristles with timely intensity.

 

Friday, March 2

 Love and Ruin, by Paula McLain

Ernest Hemingway inspired McLain to write three enthralling historical novels about strong, adventurous women. The Paris Wife (2011) reimagines the story of the first Mrs. Hemingway, Hadley Richardson. Circling the Sun (2015) is based on aviator and author Beryl Markham, whom Hemingway much admired. Here McLain portrays the heroic and gifted war correspondent and writer Martha Gellhorn struggling to remain true to herself and her calling as she becomes Hemingway’s third wife, while his fame is resurgent and the world erupts in war.

 

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