Reviews of the Week with Tae Keller, Simon Jimenez, and More!

Every weekday, we feature a different review on Booklist Online. These reviews are notable for different reasons—they may be starred, or in high demand, or especially relevant to the current issue’s spotlight.

A magical-realist tale of a heartwarming Korean family; an exceedingly relevant satire of a bumbling braggart as he captains a ship of worried souls; a colorful story of two rabbits searching for beauty in the natural world; a striking time-traveling debut from a new literary voice; a YA romance that is sure to be read many times over. The enchanted, romanced, and lampooned are revealed in this week’s Reviews of the Day, posted between November 11 and November 15, below.

Monday, November 11

When You Trap a Tiger, by Tae Keller

If stories were written in the stars and guarded by tigers, this wondrous tale would be one of the brightest. Lily is happy when she; her mom; and sister, Sam, move, because it means they will spend more time with their grandmother, their halmoni, whose life is full of magic. Halmoni has always told beautiful stories about clever sisters and equally clever tigers—not to be trusted—but Lily soon finds that life is not how she expected it to be. Sam isn’t so happy about the move, and worse, Halmoni is very sick, so when a tiger appears to Lily, offering her a deal, she thinks it could be what saves her grandmother.

Tuesday, November 12

The Captain and the Glory: An Entertainment, by Dave Eggers

The good ship Glory is home to thousands of passengers from around the planet who have lived harmoniously under a steady, now-retiring captain. Who should succeed him? One of many experienced and responsible crew members? Or a known swindler and compulsive liar sporting a yellow feather in his hair, “who said pretty much anything that popped into his head?“ This schemer ascends with the bemused connivance of his fellow thieves and con artists and the loud and gleeful support of folks who want to “shake things up.” But how will they feel once this ludicrously inept, calamitously venal, and amoral captain instigates mayhem and murder as Glory lurches from side to side?

Wednesday, November 13

In a Jar, written and illustrated by Deborah Marcero

Llewellyn, an anthropomorphized white rabbit, adores collecting things to remind him of “all the wonderful things he had seen and done.” Fall leaves, heart-shaped stones, seashells—they all go into glass jars that line the shelves of his living room. When a spectacular sunset “the color of tart cherry syrup” draws Llewellyn down to the seashore, he scoops some of the light into jars, giving one to another bunny also observing the sunset. This is how he and Evelyn become best friends. Marcero works magic with prismatic watercolors, ink, and pencil, as her light-filled illustrations chronicle the young rabbits’ exploits and their appreciative wonder of the world around them.

Thursday, November 14

The Vanished Birds, by Simon Jimenez

Jimenez’s debut depicts a future dominated by vast corporations that, in the wake of Earth’s destruction, claim space stations, people, and even whole planets as proprietary resources. Ships travel through Pocket Space, a dimension that allows for vast amounts of distance to be covered but increases the already dramatic effects of relativity so that travelers experience the passing of months instead of years. The overall narrative centers on Captain Nia Imani and her connection to a boy who falls out of the sky on the corporate-resource world of Umbai V.

Friday, November 15

Sick Kids in Love, by Hannah Moskowitz

Like all the women in her family, absent mother included, Isabel is cursed when it comes to men. And she’s got rheumatoid arthritis. Between these things and the newspaper column she diligently writes, Isabel believes she’s better off not dating. So, when she meets the adorable, dogged, and also chronically ill Sasha during a regular infusion treatment at the hospital, she’s committed to staying just friends. But as they spend more time together, “just friends” makes less sense, and Isabel has to decide whether it’s worth breaking her rules for Sasha. In a story about embracing your whole self and taking responsibility for your choices, Moskowitz (Salt2018) has produced a guaranteed love-match for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (2012) and Five Feet Apart (2018), by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Ianconis.'

About the Author:

Michael Ruzicka, Office Manager, was raised in suburban Los Angeles, received a BA in Creative Writing/Poetry at UC Santa Cruz, then moved to Birmingham, AL, where he spent five years owning an independent bookstore and earned an MLIS. He has brought his librarian skills to Vanderbilt’s Television News Archive, Battle Ground Academy, The Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Michael is very excited to be a part of Booklist and call Chicago his home.

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