Starred Review

Let's Get Back to the Party

by Zak Salih

Zak Salih's searching, incisive debut novel finds two gay millennial men making sense of their place in the culture, the struggle and each other's lives circa 2015, not long after the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States--and not long before the shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub. Sebastian, a high-school art history teacher, quails at hookup culture and mentors LGBTQ students whose freedoms he wishes he had enjoyed growing up.

Meanwhile, Oscar, a friend of Sebastian from childhood, cruises

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Rabbit Island

by Elvira Navarro, trans. by Christina MacSweeney

Elvira Navarro was listed as one of Granta's "Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists" in 2010. The 10 surreal, occasionally humorous and tender stories in Rabbit Island are sublime walks through a melancholic blood-flecked dreamscape.

An author seeks an "aura of serene iciness" for her writing, while a paw slowly grows from her earlobe, in "Strychnine"--an autobiographical warning to Navarro's audience. In the titular "Rabbit Island," a man alters an uninhabited island, with gruesome consequences. The result

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Game Changer

by Neal Shusterman

National Book Award winner Neil Shusterman's Game Changer is a brilliantly mind-bending YA work of speculative fiction that tells the story of Ash Bowman, high school football player and "subjective locus" of the entire universe.

Prior to his paradigm shift, Ash's life is nothing out of the ordinary--a "sturdy," white defensive lineman with a passion for football, he's good but not quite as good as his Black best friend Leo, the team's star wide receiver. Then Ash delivers a heavy blow to an opposing team's

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Shelf Discovery

Viruses, Pandemics, and Immunity

by Arup K. Chakraborty, Andrey S. Shaw, illus. by Philip J.S. Stork

Three experts contribute to this insightful book about the science behind viruses--how they attack, turn into epidemics and ways to mitigate their impact.

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The Oak Papers

by James Canton

These tender ruminations on oak trees, connections and possibilities will appeal to nature lovers, philosophers and seekers.

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The Future Is Yours

by Dan Frey

This provocative work of science fiction imagines a computer that can talk to itself a year into the future, wreaking havoc on the lives and loves of its creators.

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The Smash-Up

by Ali Benjamin

In this funny, withering and devastating novel, the fallout from 2018's Supreme Court confirmation hearings takes a toll on a marriage.

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Girls of a Certain Age

by Maria Adelmann

Throughout her intriguing 13-story debut collection, Maria Adelmann features recognizable women and girls leading convincing, albeit challenging, daily lives.

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Henry Holt & Company: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Media Heat

Thursday, February 25, 2021

KCRW's Bookworm: Ann Beattie, author of A Wonderful Stroke of Luck: A Novel (Penguin Books, $17, 9780525557364).

NPR's Morning Edition: Michaeleen Doucleff, author of Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781982149673).

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Fresh Air: Tim O'Brien, author of Dad's Maybe Books (Mariner Books, $16.99, 9780358362784).

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Fresh Air: Jonathan Cohn, author of The Ten Year War: Obamacare and the Unfinished Crusade for Universal Coverage (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250270931).

Monday, February 22, 2021

Tonight Show: Henry Louis Gates Jr., author of The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song (Penguin Press, $30, 9781984880338).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Bill Gates, author of How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need (Knopf, $26.95, 9780385546133).

Thursday, February 18, 2021

KCRW's Bookworm: David Duchovny, author of Truly Like Lightning: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374277741).
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