Reviews of the Week with Lorelei Savaryn, Don DeLillo, Candice Iloh, and More!

The Review of the Day has always been a brief, early way to spotlight exceptional upcoming titles 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.

Mysterious places, histories, and futures are unveiled in this week’s #ReviewsoftheDay. Add these genre-spinning sf/fantasy & horror titles to your #want list today! Booklist wishes you all well.

Monday, August 24

The Circus of Stolen Dreams, by Lorelei Savaryn

Three years after her little brother, Francis, went missing from their shared bedroom in the middle of the night, Andrea is desperate to escape her pain and guilt. When she happens upon a flyer for “Reverie: Land of Dreams,” a fairground that promises to help you forget your troubles for the price of one memory or dream, she’s happy to pay the admission, ridding herself of the recollection of that horrible evening. Reverie’s proprietor, Mr. Sandman, has fashioned a circus of wonders where every tent contains discarded memories. Anyone can enter and experience the exhilarating dreams or thrilling nightmares, all in the safety of the fairground’s embrace.


Tuesday, August 25

The Once and Future Witches, by Alix E. Harrow

Harrow solidifies her status as an exceptional storyteller with her outstanding sophomore effort (after The Ten Thousand Doors of January, 2019). Once upon a time (1893, to be exact), there were three sisters, Bella, Agnes, and Juniper Eastwood. Estranged for years, the sisters are brought back together by a seemingly unnatural force. Could it have been witchcraft? No, for there has been no magic (and therefore no witches) since the Purge. When one of the sisters unknowingly calls forth a mythic tower known only from fairy tales, it’s proof that magic lives once more. As women of the town march for their right to vote, the Eastwood sisters are witching to regain even more rights for women.


Wednesday, August 26

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Paola Santiago is excited to spend the summer before seventh grade picnicking and stargazing near the Gila River with best friends Emma and Dante. Not even a string of local disappearances or the (embarrassing) warnings from Pao’s mom are enough to keep them away from the river, so when Emma fails to meet Pao and Dante at their spot, they know she must be in trouble. As Pao tries to make sense of her spooky and increasingly accurate dreams, she realizes that she and Dante must find Emma before it’s too late. Armed with a crocheted bag of tools, Pao and Dante set off to save their friend and find out whether all the warnings—about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman, and other dark creatures from Latinx folklore—could be true. 

Thursday, August 27

The Silence, by Don DeLillo

Jim and Tessa are flying back to New York from Paris. It’s 2022. He is entranced by the screen tracking their flight. A poet, she is writing in a small notebook. As soon as they land, they will hurry to their friends’ apartment to watch the Super Bowl. The plane begins to shake and lurch. Max has a lot of money riding on the game. He and his wife, Diane, a retired physics professor, and Martin, a former student enthralled by Einstein and given to metaphysical trances, are already in front of the “superscreen TV.” The broadcast image begins to shake and fracture. Then everything stops. All devices go dark. All falls silent. Battered and exhausted, Jim and Tessa, the one person of color among them, finally arrive after traversing a city in shock. A strange vigil begins. The couples talk in quick, clipped volleys. Martin recites the ills of the world: datasphere crime, the plague of microplastics, the threats of bioweapons. Might this be WWIII?

Friday, August 28

Every Body Looking, by Candice Iloh

High school’s finally over, and Ada’s off to college at an HBCU 697 miles away from her home on Chicago’s North Side. No longer is she bound by her father’s incessant prayers, his imposition of a God she is not even entirely sure she will continue to follow. Nor is Ada subject to the delicate handling of her temperamental mother or managing her far too predictable outbursts. But with thousands of miles between them, and the freedom to finally be herself, Ada reckons with the weight of her life’s experiences and long-suppressed desires as college life messily unfolds. Her magic, though, is found in dance, where her body is free to say all of the things that her mouth hasn’t yet had the boldness to.

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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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