Reviews of the Week, with Becky Albertalli, Lesa Cline-Ransome, Ted Kooser, 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 April 24–27 below.


Monday, April 23

 Confessions of the Fox, by Jordy Rosenberg

Resonant of George Saunders, of Nikolai Gogol, and of nothing that’s ever been written before, professor of literature and queer/trans theory Rosenberg’s debut is a triumph. This eighteenth-century, anti-imperialist, anticapitalist love story tells the tale of notorious transgender thief Jack Sheppard.






Tuesday, April 24

 Finding Langston, by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Langston wishes he was back in Alabama. The 11-year-old’s mother was barely dead and buried before his father moved them to Chicago, where, in 1946, “a man can provide for his family without always scraping and bowing.” But to Langston, Chicago is loneliness and lacking—no friends, family, or good food, just his dad’s bad cooking. Three bullies make life even harder. Then he discovers something that amazes him: a public library.



Wednesday, April 25

 Kindest Regards: New and Selected Poems, by Ted Kooser

In American literature, local color denotes the place-specific novels, poems, and essays of the post–Civil War to WWI period that considerably broadened the scope of literary realism. Happily, this has persisted, as Kooser’s entire body of work attests. Kooser has always lived in his region, the heart of the American heartland—Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas. He writes ruminative, reminiscent, secularly numinous poems about its land, animals, people, and, sometimes, the past.




Thursday, April 26

 Be Prepared, by Vera Brosgol

Vera feels too Russian for her friends in Albany. She can never quite get the hang of sleepover birthday parties, and she’ll never have expensive toys like they do. So when she hears about a summer camp just for Russian American kids, she’s sure she’s finally found her place. But she’s much younger than her tent-mates, and—impossibly—she’s not Russian enough to fit in. She stumbles over the language, doesn’t know all the songs, and generally can’t quite get a handle on roughing it. But what’s more Russian than suffering?


Friday, April 27

 Leah on the Offbeat, by Becky Albertalli

Leah Burke takes center stage in this sequel to Albertalli’s Morris Award–winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It’s senior year, and Leah’s friends can’t stop talking about college, prom, and long-distance relationships. Simon and Bram are as cute as ever, Leah’s got college lined up, and goofy Garrett obviously has a crush on her. But Leah can’t quite get into it. Everything Albertalli already did so well in Simon, she’s improved upon here, and fans of the first book will be utterly smitten with Leah.




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