Starred Review

Chain-Gang All-Stars

by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

In his powerful, imaginative debut novel, Chain-Gang All-Stars, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black) brilliantly exposes the for-profit infrastructure that exploits the incarcerated, as the larger-than-life characters stir compassion in readers. The titular all-stars have signed away their right to privacy, to their names, to their physical likenesses, to compete in gladiator-style fights to the death--televised nationwide. If, after three years, they survive these BloodGround contests, they go free, no

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Deadly Quiet City: True Stories from Wuhan

by Murong Xuecun

More than three years after the outbreak of Covid-19 comes Deadly Quiet City, an inside account of the pandemic's earliest days in Wuhan, China. Bestselling Chinese writer and critic of censorship and corruption Murong Xuecun (Leave Me Alone) relates the testimonies of eight Wuhan residents from late 2019 and early 2020, and the risks he took to get them. The result is a dramatic human mosaic, an urgent chronicle of a pivotal period in world history, and a fierce indictment of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

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The Eyes and the Impossible

by Dave Eggers, illus. by Shawn Harris

Animals have very full lives that humans never see. Johannes the dog introduces readers to his life in a bustling and vibrant urban park in the immersive middle-grade animal adventure The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris, the team behind Her Right Foot and What Can a Citizen Do?

Johannes plays a critical role in the urban park in which he lives: he acts as "the Eyes" for the "rulers" of the park, three wise old Bison. The Bison, who are penned, depend on the Eyes for information so they

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Sing Her Down

by Ivy Pochoda

Ivy Pochoda (These WomenWonder Valley) unleashes a combination of raw energy and poignant loss in Sing Her Down, a ferocious, feminist western. After just a few years in prison, Florence "Florida" Baum is told she qualifies for early release because the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is endangering prisoners. But Florida soon realizes there are two catches. First, she must stay in Arizona, despite desperately wanting to return to her home of Los Angeles. And second, violent and volatile fellow inmate

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by Melissa Crowe

In Melissa Crowe's incandescent second book, the Iowa Poetry Prize-winning Lo, threats are everywhere, but love and beauty counteract them. Incorporating a variety of forms, this collection of 35 affecting autobiographical poems travels from impoverished girlhood to marriage and motherhood in the post-pandemic U.S.

Crowe (Dear Terror, Dear Splendor) delves into the reality of sexual abuse and growing up in rural poverty. Some days there was, literally, no money; she and her parents took turns washing in the

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Peaceful Me

by Sandra V. Feder, illus. by Rahele Jomepour Bell

"Sometimes being peaceful is easy. Sometimes it takes work to get there." In this wise, gentle, gorgeously illustrated companion to Angry Me, a child explores the many ways they can feel peaceful... and what to do when they don't.

As in Angry Me, Sandra V. Feder and Rahele Jomepour Bell's equally delightful team effort, the child in Peaceful Me recognizes a variety of ways to experience a certain feeling. There's "Quiet" peaceful, when alone; "Good game" peaceful, when things go well with friends; "Cuddle

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The Last Carolina Girl

by Meagan Church

Megan Church's stirring debut, The Last Carolina Girl, follows the newly orphaned 14-year-old Leah Payne, highlighting the true meaning of family in this Carolina-set coming-of-age novel. The warmth and comfort of Leah's life with her father in 1935 coastal Brunswick County, N.C., is suddenly ripped away to reveal the heartbreakingly raw reality of grief experienced at a young age. Leah is taken to stay with a respectable family and situated as their new helpmate since her father's tragic accident left her

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Shelf Discovery

Rogue Justice

by Stacey Abrams

In her second Avery Keene thriller, Stacey Abrams combines her knowledge of Washington politics, national security, and the cyber world into a fleet-footed, spine-chilling narrative.

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The Storyteller

by Brandon Hobson

Over a night of eccentric encounters in the desert, a catastrophizing Cherokee boy seeks answers about his missing mom in an intriguing middle-grade mystery.

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by Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue's 12th novel is an intense character study of three seventh-century monks who attempt to found a monastery on a remote Irish island.

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City of Orange

by David Yoon

City of Orange is a post-apocalyptic novel unlike any other, taking readers deep into one man's search for identity and the possibility of a future in the bleak landscape of his unknown present.

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Second Shot

by Cindy Dees

In Second Shot, an edge-of-your-seat thriller, a retired 55-year-old CIA assassin is dragged back into her old life when her family is threatened.

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Perilous Times

by Thomas D. Lee

With wit, heart, and irreverence, Perilous Times imagines what might happen if Arthurian knights return to save the world from climate disaster.

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Burnt: A Memoir of Fighting Fire

by Clare Frank

This exceptional memoir shows wide emotional range in spanning the complexities of firefighting and fire prevention in California and the American West, gender issues, family, work, love, and loss.

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Random House Books for Young Readers: Smartest Kid in the Universe #3: Evil Genius (The Smartest Kid in the Universe) by Chris Grabenstein

Media Heat

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Good Morning America: Bruce Feiler, author of The Search: Finding Meaningful Work in a Post-Career World (Penguin Press, $29, 9780593298916).

Also on GMA: Hayley Kiyoko, author of Girls Like Girls (Wednesday Books, $20, 9781250817631).

CBS Mornings: Geena Rocero, author of Horse Barbie: A Memoir (The Dial Press, $28, 9780593445884).

NPR's All Things Considered: James Comey, author of Central Park West: A Crime Novel (Mysterious Press, $30, 9781613164037).

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Morning Joe: Eileen Bjorkman, author of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat (Knox Press, $30, 9781637585948).

Good Morning America: James Comey, author of Central Park West: A Crime Novel (Mysterious Press, $30, 9781613164037).

Today Show: Bricia Lopez, author of Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling (Abrams, $40, 9781419762888).

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Good Morning America: Vanessa Walters, author of The Nigerwife: A Novel (Atria, $27.99, 9781668011089).

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

CBS Mornings: Elise Hu, author of Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital (Dutton, $28.49, 9780593184189).

Today Show: Brittany Snow and Jaspre Guest, authors of September Letters: Finding Strength and Connection in Sharing Our Stories (Harper, $27.99, 9780063242227).

Monday, May 22, 2023

Good Morning America: Ruth E. Carter, author of The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther (Chronicle, $40, 9781797203065).

Today Show: Elise Loehnen, author of On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good (The Dial Press, $28, 9780593243039).

Tamron Hall: R.K. Russell, author of The Yards Between Us: A Memoir of Life, Love and Football (Andscape Books, $26.99, 9781368081368).
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