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Reviews of the Week: With Paula Daly, Kate Harris, Duncan Tonatiuh, 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 September 24–28 below.


Monday, September 24

 Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road, by Kate Harris

Natural history devotee Harris’ debut is an homage to science—a love letter to geology, zoology, astronomy, and everything in between—and a travelogue-memoir in which she traces her academic pursuits, solo travels, and year-long bicycle trek along the storied Silk Road with her dear friend, Mel. Starting in Turkey, the intrepid duo navigates thousands of kilometers along with all kinds of weather, police assistance and interference, government bureaucracy, visa woes, searing muscles, and soaring spirits.


Tuesday, September 25

 Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight, written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

Multiple Pura Belpré Medal and Honor–awarded Tonatiuh (Diego Rivera, 2011) channels his interest in the Mixtec codex format to create a superb modern odyssey, stupendously illustrated in his signature contemporary adaptation of pre-Columbian art forms, presented on accordion pages in a handsome slip-case. His often-wordless insertions of border violence, #BlackLivesMatter, gay relationships, even gender preference prove especially resonating.

Wednesday, September 26

 Open Your Eyes, by Paula Daly

This fifth absorbing domestic thriller (following The Trophy Child, 2017) from acclaimed crime-writer Daly, is afire with her trademark brilliantly defined characters, the nice and the not so nice. Leon Campbell is a best-selling thriller author with everything going for him when he is brutally attacked in the driveway of his own home. His wife, Jane, is catapulted from her happy life—built around a loving marriage, two young children, a playful cat, and a fulfilling job as a creative-writing teacher—into an absolute nightmare.


Thursday, September 27

 Never Evers, by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Thirteen-year-old Brits Jack and his friends Max and Toddy have never kissed a girl, but they expect their school snowboard trip to France will change that. Londoner Mouse is on a school ski trip, but she’s consumed with hiding the fact she couldn’t cut it at ballet school, particularly from her former best friend, Lauren, who is now her nemesis. In this first middle-grade outing from a YA-penning duo (Freshman, 2018), Ellen writes Jack’s chapters, and Ivison Mouse’s, with the result being nothing short of adorbs.


Friday, September 28

Once Upon a River, by Diane Setterfield

It’s a dark and stormy night at the Swan Inn, located in a sleepy village on the upper banks of the River Thames, circa 1870. The usual patrons are gathered ’round for their typical night of swapping stories when a man bursts in with a lifeless four-year-old girl in his arms. He immediately collapses, setting off a mesmerizing, moody tale of identity, family, secrets, and storytelling.



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