Reviews of the Week with L. C. Rosen, Rowenna Miller, Megha Majumdar, and More!

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

Fantastic journeys of self-discovery, magic, and whimsy take place in this week’s #ReviewsOfTheWeek. Booklist wishes you all well.

Monday, April 6

Camp, by L. C. Rosen

Randy has spent summer after spectacular summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer kids, where he gets to be his most extravagant self. It’s been perfect, except for one thing: Randy’s years-long crush on Hudson Aaronson-Lim, a supermasculine camper who famously only dates other masc guys. Randy is convinced that this will be the summer he lands the guy of his dreams. He’s spent the whole year turning himself into the guy of Hudson’s dreams to make it happen: he’s buffed up, cut his hair, and changed his name to Del. It means no more camp musical, no more Unicorn Trampocalpyse nail polish, and no more wild outfits. Randy—er, Del—knows it’s all worth it for love. But is this really love if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?

Tuesday, April 7

Rule, by Rowenna Miller

Sophie Balstrade, a charm caster, is a reluctant revolutionary. She would like nothing more than to continue creating charmed dresses in her small shop in the capital city of Galitha. But her country is now in a civil war, and her brother Kristos and her fiancé, former crown prince Theodor, are the leaders of the Reformists. Sophie leverages her friendships and her charm work to seek allies and supplies in neighboring countries. When that situation becomes too dangerous, Sophie joins Kristos and Theodor at the Reformist army’s encampment. Her work charming uniforms and bandages gives Sophie a first-hand view of a new republic forming.


Wednesday, April 8

Lobizona, by Romina Garber

Manu, with eyes like blazing suns, divides herself between two worlds, which means she doesn’t feel like a part of either. In the human world, living in Miami, she’s an undocumented immigrant whose mother is taken away and shipped off to a detention center. In the Septimus world, where all girls are brujas, or witches, she’s an illegal hybrid and the first-known lobizona, or female werewolf. In both worlds, staying hidden is what keeps her safe. Garber’s gorgeous novel combines the wonder of a Hogwarts-style magic school with the Twilight-esque dynamics of a hidden magical species that has strict rules about interacting with the human world.



Thursday, April 9

A Burning, by Megha Majumdar

For the first time in her young life, Jivan has her own cellphone, which she bought with money earned by working as a shopgirl, having left high school after barely passing her tenth-form exams. After witnessing a gruesome train-station attack during her 15-minute walk home to the slums, she continues to follow events on Facebook. And then Jivan does “a foolish thing . . . a dangerous thing, immaturely hoping to multiply her ‘likes’ by responding to a post: if the police watched them die, . . . doesn’t that mean that the government is also a terrorist?” Days later, Jivan has been beaten and jailed, accused of terrorism, effectively condemned without a trial.


Friday, April 10

Catalyst, by Sarah Beth Durst

On the eve of her twelfth birthday, Zoe finds a tiny kitten outside her house. She successfully convinces her parents she responsible enough to care for it, but when she awakens the next morning, she has some concerns upon observing that the kitten has grown to full size. Zoe and her best friend, Harrison, take Pipsqueak to the vet, who sees no evident problems for an adult-sized cat. As Pipsqueak continues to grow exponentially, Zoe wonders how to hide her, but once the cat begins to talk and read, the situation requires drastic action.

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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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