Reviews of the Week with Van Hoang, Barack Obama, and Shaun David Hutchinson!

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.

A fast-paced fantasy debut. The first in a series of presidential memoirs from Barack Obama. Three teens’ adventures in space. It’s all here in this (short) week’s #ReviewsOfTheDay. Booklist wishes you all well.

Monday, November 23

Girl Giant and the Monkey King, by Van Hoang

After moving to a new town with her mother and leaving her best friend behind, 11-year-old Thom Ngoh adjusts to life in a new middle school, where she struggles to make friends and, afraid of being teased, finds herself hiding her Vietnamese culture from her classmates. On top of this, Thom possesses incredible strength that she can’t control, which lands a rival soccer player in the hospital, thanks to a ball kicked by Thom. After unknowingly releasing the Monkey King, a legendary demon god, Thom agrees to help him recover his staff in exchange for his help taking away her superstrength. Thus, she embarks on an incredible adventure filled with the Vietnamese legends from her Ma’s stories.

Tuesday, November 24

A Promised Land, by Barack Obama

In his preface, President Obama says he wanted to write a book that covered his political career and his presidency as well as one that might inspire young people to a life of service. He rather ruefully admits he thought the whole thing might take up about 500 pages; this 768-page tome turned out to be only volume one. Putting pen to paper (yes, he composes first drafts on legal pads), the former president writes with an elegant hand, juxtaposing his personal ascendancy against the events of history, along with describing the disruptive populism and the toxicity of racism that sometimes twisted the audacity of hope into a deflating nope. 

Wednesday, November 25

A Complicated Love Story Set in Space, by Shaun David Hutchinson

There may be worse ways to wake than floating in space with your memories missing and the voice of a stranger piped into your helmet, but 16-year-old Noa can’t think of one, especially when he learns he has to repair a coolant leak or the ship will explode. After DJ, the teen speaking through his HUD, talks him through this sudden responsibility, they explore their no-longer-about-to-explode ship for answers. Instead, they find another teen, Jenny. None of them know how they ended up on the spaceship Qriosity, which lacks a crew, a working navigation system, or any records. 

About the Author:

Briana Shemroske is Booklist's Marketing Associate. She graduated with a BA from Lake Forest College where she studied English Writing and Art History. In her free time she can be found eating cheeseburgers, frolicking with her schnoodle, Moritz, and feebly attempting to play board games. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Briana.

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