By September 25, 2020 0 Comments Read More →

Reviews of the Week with Kelly Quindlen, Julian Winters, Spike Carlsen, 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.

Teens in love and dynamic perspectives on current affairs are covered in this week’s #ReviewsOfTheDay. Booklist wishes you all well.

Monday, September 21

She Drives Me Crazy, by Kelly Quindlen

Scottie is still reeling from her break-up with Tally when the two exes compete in a varsity basketball game. When Tally’s school wins, it’s just the latest bad thing to happen to Scottie. But it’s not the last—she gets into a fender bender with Irene, the super popular, super gorgeous cheerleader who has it out for Scottie. Now Irene’s car is in the shop, and their moms are insisting they carpool. Scottie is totally uninclined to cooperate, until rumors that Tally is jealous of Scottie’s new “relationship” get her scheming; she bribes Irene, who has her own reasons for playing along, to pretend to be her girlfriend. But the more time they spend together, the more Scottie and Irene find themselves becoming a little less like nemeses and a little more like friends—or maybe, possibly, something more?

Tuesday, September 22

The Summer of Everything, by Julian Winters

So here’s the story: Eighteen-year-old, openly gay Wesley Hudson is secretly in love with his longtime best friend, Nico Alvarez, whose sexual preference is a frustrating enigma to Wes. But there’s more to their story than that: the bookstore where they work and which Wes loves with all his heart is losing money and may have to close unless the two boys and the other young people who work there can contrive a way to spark an infusion of cash. Meanwhile, self-styled nerd Wes meets a to-die-for boy named Manu and finds himself drawn to him, leaving Wes wondering if it’s time to let go of his agonizingly painful crush on Nico. What to do? This appealing book is hipper than hip (if it’s still hip to say hip), replete with au courant words like dope, noob, rad, chill, and sick, and boasts–er, hella likable, no, make that lovable characters, who are complex and beautifully realized.

Wednesday, September 23

A Walk around the Block: Stoplight Secrets, Mischievous Squirrels, Manhole Mysteries & Other Stuff You See Every Day (And Know Nothing About), by Spike Carlsen

The day no water flowed from his faucets, Minnesota-based carpenter and writer Carlsen realized that he knew nothing about all “the things that sustain us.” This inspired a home-centered yet wide-roaming investigation and this lively, funny, surprising, anecdotal, and enlightening chronicle. Carlsen crisply illuminates the history and mechanics of our water and power supply systems, streets and sidewalks, and garbage and recycling processing. Nature is honored in his tributes to all the wonders trees bestow upon us and the remarkable yet maligned lives of pigeons and squirrels. Each curious detail about fire hydrants, sewage, front porches, and parking alters the way we see our habitats. Carlsen’s immersion in the postal system, an urgent subject as the pandemic and looming presidential election converge, leads to a fresh look at the evolution of communication technologies and the cellphone-oriented equipment we can spy on our neighborhood strolls.

Thursday, September 24

Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, by Anne Helen Petersen

In a cultural moment rife with inter-generational sparring (“OK, Boomer”), and with millennials garnering criticism for their transient-appearing lifestyles (never buying houses or napkins), Buzzfeed culture writer Petersen cracks open why millennials behave the way they do and how the lifestyles that have been forced upon them are a detriment to society as a whole. Attempting to decenter the white, middle-class experience of young adulthood, this book explores how millennials of all backgrounds and income brackets suffer because of the gig economy they inherited. Millennials face serious burnout because workers are now rewarded and promoted for eschewing work-life balance, which hurts everyone. Petersen examines how communities could benefit from less time spent working or focused on aspirational consumption, AKA hobbies and media meant to sound impressive at parties. With more free time, millennials could create the society they deserve through philanthropy, democratic engagement, and quality time spent with family, friends, and neighbors.

Friday, September 25

The Boys in the Back Row, by Mike Jung

Matt and Eric, two nerds unashamed of loving comics, the school marching band, and each other, have been besties since fourth grade. Now, in sixth grade, Eric reveals to Matt that, at the end of the school year, his family is moving away. When it’s announced that the school band will compete in the World of Amazement Spring Music Festival, the two boys plan one final, epic adventure: sneaking away from the festival in order to see their favorite artist at DefenderCon, the local comics convention. Jung’s (Unidentified Suburban Object, 2016) voice is a gift to middle-grade fiction, driven largely by the protagonist’s wry attention to detail and by dialogue that, whether it’s between bantering schoolboys or Matt and his politically progressive parents, is rich in character, wit, and authenticity.



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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