Starred Review

Fire Exit

by Morgan Talty

Stark and tender, Fire Exit by Morgan Talty (Night of the Living Rez) compassionately addresses tough choices in matters of family and love. In hardscrabble circumstances, surrounded by poverty, alcoholism, and family violence, one man wishes to give his daughter a meaningful gift: the truth.

Charles Lamosway has grown up on the Penobscot reservation in Maine, but doesn't have Native American blood. Although he's very close to his Native stepfather, Frederick, his biological parentage meant he had to

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Life After Whale: The Amazing Ecosystem of a Whale Fall

by Lynn Brunelle, illus. by Jason Chin

Bill Nye the Science Guy writer Lynn Brunelle leads readers through the marine circle of life in a stunning picture book about a whale fall, employing a narrative voice that eases young readers through the extraordinary life a death creates. Brunelle's work, accompanied by the astonishingly realistic watercolor and gouache artwork of Caldecott Medalist Jason Chin (Watercress), is an exquisite ode to the largest documented animal on Earth.

Brunelle expertly sets the scene for her audience, describing the ocean

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The Sons of El Rey

by Alex Espinoza

The tender and revelatory family drama The Sons of El Rey by Alex Espinoza (The Five Acts of Diego León) follows three generations of Mexican-American men as their passion for lucha libre sustains them through immigration, loss, and secret heartache.

In the 1960s, Ernesto Vega moves to Mexico City where he becomes the successful luchador El Rey Coyote, immersed in a world of battle and pageantry that embraces a performative version of queerness in a society shrouded by homophobia. His forbidden

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The Authentic Ukrainian Kitchen: Recipes from a Native Chef

by Yevhen Klopotenko

Activism can start in the kitchen--or at least that's what it feels like when reading The Authentic Ukrainian Kitchen: Recipes from a Native Chef, a cookbook by one of Ukraine's most popular chefs. Yevhen Klopotenko, who counts restaurateur and school-lunch reformer among his many pursuits, repudiates a bland, Soviet-imposed food culture and heralds Ukraine's ethnic dishes as worthy of kitchens around the world. "After all," he writes, "if you want to learn about a culture, what better way than to try its

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How to Become the Dark Lord and Die Trying

by Django Wexler

In How to Become the Dark Lord and Die Trying, the first entry in a planned series, Django Wexler (Ashes of the Sun) introduces a sarcastic, punchy heroine. Davi is done with dying and starting over in a world that has kept her in a time loop for a thousand years, ever since she woke up from her life on Earth and was greeted by a wizard who told her she's the destined savior of the Kingdom. In her 238th life, she decides to become the Dark Lord herself. She starts by gathering a horde of minions from among

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The Color of a Lie

by Kim Johnson

Author of such "ripped-from-the-headlines" titles as This Is My America and Invisible Son Kim Johnson enters the world of historical fiction with The Color of a Lie, about a teenager in 1955 who uncovers violent, racist secrets in his Pennsylvania town.

High school junior Calvin Greene has begrudgingly moved to a small suburban town in Levittown, Pa., with his parents. Although Calvin and his family are Black, they can "pass" for white and have settled in a "whites only" community. Calvin's father wants them

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Shelf Discovery

Summer Romance

by Annabel Monaghan

Annabel Monaghan's breezy third novel follows a single mom on a lighthearted summer fling that may prove to be anything but.

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Soldier Sailor

by Claire Kilroy

This searing and candid exploration of the extremes of early parenthood captures a mother's rage, joy, anguish and love as she mourns the loss of the woman she was before having a child.

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The Main Character

by Jaclyn Goldis

An author who bases her characters on ordinary people treats her latest subject to a trip on the Orient Express with people from the subject's past in this deviously clever mystery.

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Forgotten on Sunday

by Valérie Perrin, trans. by Hildegarde Serle

An emotionally engrossing novel that exposes the ways losses sustained by two French women, born generations apart, come to define their lives.

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To & Fro

by Leah Hager Cohen

This flip-book novel of two girls' parallel stories in separate worlds is a delightful tribute to language and the quest for life's truths.

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Such a Bad Influence

by Olivia Muenter

This wicked, compelling debut about a missing social media influencer and the older sister who is desperate to find her is an of-the-moment read that avoids becoming on the nose.

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Mouth: Stories

by Puloma Ghosh

A collection of creepy and surreal stories, Mouth introduces readers to Puloma Ghosh's unmatched ability to probe the visceral depths of female pain, desire, and grief.

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Lost Ark Dreaming

by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

This immersive speculative novella set in a partially submerged tower in post-climate collapse Lagos brings to life a detailed world, a fast-paced plot, and engaging characters.

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Trucky Roads

by Lulu Miller, illus. by Hui Skipp

A freewheeling dreamer introduces trucks both real and humorously fantastical in this groovy, imagination-affirming picture book.

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Goddess of the River

by Vaishnavi Patel

A mother's hope for her son's righteousness dominates in Goddess of the River, Vaishnavi Patel's emotional retelling of the Mahabharata from the perspectives of Ganga and Bhishma.

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Bright and Tender Dark

by Joanna Pearson

Joanna Pearson's multi-perspective debut novel comments on toxic religion and true-crime enthusiasm as it chronicles the search for justice for a murdered college freshman.

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Poisoned Pen Press: That Night in the Library by Eva Jurczyk

Media Heat

Thursday, June 13, 2024

CBS Mornings: Glynnis MacNicol, author of I'm Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself: One Woman's Pursuit of Pleasure in Paris (Penguin Life, $30, 9780593655757).

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Kelly Clarkson Show: Griffin Dunne, author of The Friday Afternoon Club: A Family Memoir (Penguin Press, $30, 9780593652824).

Jennifer Hudson Show: Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, author of Flower Love: Lush Floral Arrangements for the Heart and Home (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780593234969).

Jimmy Kimmel Live!: Tiffany Haddish, author of I Curse You with Joy (Diversion Books, $28.99, 9781635769531)

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Fresh Air: Questlove, author of Hip-Hop Is History (AUWA, $30, 9780374614072).
Good Morning America: Amy B. Scher and Mark Jason Williams, authors of Out in the World: An LGBTQIA+ (and Friends!) Travel Guide to More Than 100 Destinations Around the World (National Geographic, $30, 9781426223501).

CBS Mornings: Elin Hilderbrand, author of Swan Song (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316258876).

Monday, June 10, 2024

Today Show: Ryan Holiday, author of Right Thing, Right Now: Good Values. Good Character. Good Deeds. (Portfolio, $28, 9780593191712).

Also on Today: Katie Ledecky, author of Just Add Water: My Swimming Life (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781668060209).

Fresh Air: Griffin Dunne, author of The Friday Afternoon Club: A Family Memoir (Penguin Press, $30, 9780593652824).

Thursday, June 6, 2024

CBS Mornings: Kellie Carter Jackson, author of We Refuse: A Forceful History of Black Resistance (Seal Press, $30, 9781541602908).

Today Show: Dan Churchill, author of Eat Like a Legend: Delicious, Super Easy Recipes to Perform at Your Peak (HarperOne, $34.99, 9780063284227).
Live with Kelly and Mark: James Patterson, co-author of Eruption (Little, Brown, $32, 9780316565073).

Tamron Hall: Darius Rucker, author of Life's Too Short: A Memoir (Dey Street, $29.99, 9780063238749).
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