Reviews of the Week, with Jonathan Lethem, Jimmy Cajoleas, Soraya Chemaly, 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 August 20-24 below.

 

Monday, August 20the feral detective

 The Feral Detective, by Jonathan Lethem

When 18-year-old Arabella disappears from Reed College, talkative Phoebe reaches out to taciturn Charles Heist, who is either a feral detective, a detective who finds feral youths, or both—it’s not immediately clear. Together, they track Arabella (who is using Phoebe’s name) up Mount Baldy to a Buddhist retreat and then out into the Mojave Desert where Arabella may be among the Rabbits or the Bears, two long-established communities of off-the-gridders with very different cultures. Set in the days surrounding Donald Trump’s inauguration, this echoes with Phoebe’s explicitly voiced outrage and sadness about the country’s political right turn, yet it also feels allegorical, what with lost tribes wandering in the desert and all.

 

Tuesday, August 21unhinged

Unhinged, by Omarosa Maginault Newman

Omarosa may call Donald Trump unhinged, but by her own admission, she was complicit in the antics of his administration. Although it’s her disclosures about Trump that have made the headlines—he didn’t want to be left by himself at an African American church; he can’t remember bullet points; he drinks eight Diet Cokes a day (the latter, Omarosa claims, leads to dementia)—this book is in many ways more the story of someone who happily gives up her principles to pursue a greater public image.

 

Wednesday, August 22wildcard

Wildcard, by Marie Lu

Bounty hunter turned reality game superstar Emika Chen thought she had her hands full when she became an internationally known competitor in the virtual-reality-game Warcross​ championships. But that was before she learned the truth about her one-time love Hideo Tanaka, a young billionaire and creator of Warcross​—and the inventor of an algorithm that puts everyone who uses his high-tech lenses under his control. Sure, Hideo’s not trying to rule the world or anything—­this all started as a war on crime, after his little brother went missing years ago—but Emi can’t agree with his methods.

 

 

Thursday, August 23rage becomes her

 Rage Becomes Her, by Soraya Chemaly

“If men truly understood how angry the women around them are, they’d be speechless,” Chemaly writes in her thoughtful, in-depth exploration of female rage. The most notable and frustrating thing about women’s anger, Chemaly observes, is how often it’s repressed or shut down because women are taught from girlhood that being angry is unattractive, unappealing, and unladylike. These gender stereotypes can be even more challenging for women of color, particularly black and Latina women, who have to contend with being labeled “angry” on a regular basis. Chemaly finishes with a helpful list of suggestions for channeling that anger into something positive, including letting go of “niceness” and trusting other women.

 

Friday, August 24the good demon

 The Good Demon, by Jimmy Cajoleas

Clare would do anything to get her demon back. Until the fiery preacher exorcised the demon, whom Clare calls Her, she was her best friend, particularly in the wake of Clare’s dad’s death by overdose. Now that she’s gone, Clare aches with intense loneliness, and when she finds an enigmatic clue that could have only come from her demon, she’s convinced it’s a way to reunite. As she grows closer to Roy, the poetic, sensitive son of the preacher, she also uncovers hints of an opportunistic society intent on using any means to maintain their wealth, and traces of that group’s disturbing activities in years past. First, though, she must contend with the allure of the One Wish Man, who lives in a hidden part of the woods and promises to solve all her problems.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Gonner is a recent graduate of Western Illinois University with a degree in English Literature. When she's not at work, you'll likely find her watching anime, playing her ukulele, or reading.

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