Starred Review

Luster

by Raven Leilani

Raven Leilani's first novel, Luster, is a rocket-paced, sensual fever dream of sex, trauma, relationships and conflicting perceptions.

Edie is in her 20s and struggling, with her crappy shared Bushwick apartment, her low-level position in children's publishing, her uninspired sexual choices and her irritable bowel syndrome. Her parents are dead, but the psychic wounds they inflicted are not. Her painting is not going well, and she is a Black woman in New York City. "Racism is often so mundane it leaves

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Imperfect Women

by Araminta Hall

One premise of Araminta Hall's horrible yet lovely Imperfect Women is that women absorb tragedy so others don't have to. Best friends Nancy, Eleanor and Mary each absorbed plenty as life took them down unexpected paths. Twenty-eight years after their friendship began at Oxford, Eleanor's phone wakes her at 4 a.m. It's Nancy's husband, Robert, concerned she never came home the night before.

Rather than worried, Eleanor is irritated. She alone knows that Nancy is embroiled in a year-long affair she's been trying

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The Black Kids

by Christina Hammonds Reed

Affluence is not an impermeable barrier from the destructive forces of racism--a stark truth high school senior Ashley Bennett is forced to face in Christina Hammonds Reed's YA debut, The Black Kids. Filled with multi-dimensional characters who stretch way beyond stereotypes, the book unfolds in the turbulent spring of 1992, when the Los Angeles area was engulfed in a wave of riots after the four police officers on trial for severely beating unarmed Rodney King were acquitted of all charges.

Intelligent, popular

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Shelf Discovery

The Tunnel

by A.B. Yehoshua, trans. by Stuart Schoffman

In this tenderhearted story, an aging Israeli engineer works on an improbable road-building project as he fights against his failing memory.

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Born

by John Sobol, illus. by Cindy Derby

This impressionistic homage to childbirth takes readers through a baby's final days in the womb and follows her emergence into the world as a much-loved newborn.

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A Saint from Texas

by Edmund White

In this gorgeously appointed novel, an elderly Texas belle tells her story and that of her identical twin, whose abuse by their father set her on a spiritual path.

Read Full Review »

Lobizona

by Romina Garber

Sixteen-year-old Manu Azul, determined to discover the secrets of her paternal lineage, finds unexpected answers in Argentine folklore and magical politics.

Read Full Review »

Bear Necessity

by James Gould-Bourn

In this delightful story, a grieving British father and his young son who refuses to speak learn to communicate with each other through a dancing panda bear.

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Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Media Heat

Thursday, August 6, 2020

KCRW's Bookworm: Elizabeth Wetmore, author of Valentine: A Novel (Harper, $26.99, 9780062913265).

Monday, August 3, 2020

Fresh Air: Margaret Sullivan, author of Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy (Columbia Global Reports, $15.99, 9781733623780).

Thursday, July 30, 2020

KCRW's Bookworm: Margot Livesey, author of The Boy in the Field: A Novel (Harper, $26.99, 9780062946393).

Fresh Air: Robert P. Jones, author of White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781982122867).

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Takeaway: Steven Greenhouse, author of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor (Anchor, $16.99, 9781101872796).

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Fresh Air: Natasha Trethewey, author of Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062248572).
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