Camp

CAMP by L. C. Rosen is a booming celebration of queerness and an nuanced look at young queer people’s struggle with identity told through a super cute romance! At Camp Outland, a summer camp for LGBTQIA+ teens, 16-year-old Randy Kapplehoff gets to be his authentic self: he wears nail polish, sing show-tunes with friends, and…

Fairest: A Memoir

“Because I was looking at one of the most beautiful faces I’d ever seen, even if I could only see half of her. That face belonged to me. […] I had a vision of my future then. I would call myself by a different name, one I have yet to determine. I would use chemicals…

A Burning

“If the police didn’t help ordinary people like you and me, if the police watched them die, doesn’t that mean that the government is also a terrorist?” As the title of Megha Majumdar’s debut novel implies, A BURNING is a blaze of a book that burns brightly from start to finish. The story begins after…

The Beauty of Your Face

THE BEAUTY OF YOUR FACE by Sahar Mustafah is a complex story about Muslim identity and Islamic faith centered around a school shooting. As Afaf Rahman – the principal of a school for Muslim girls in the suburbs of Chicago – comes face-to-face with active shooter at her school, we are brought back through Afaf’s…

This is My Brain in Love

I knew that THIS IS MY BRAIN IN LOVE by I. W. Gregorio was going to be a cute read but, boy oh boy, there is so much more to this book than I expected! As a YA contemporary romance novel I was very impressed that the book not only depicted a budding romance well…

Conjure Women

CONJURE WOMEN is Afia Atakora’s intriguing debut novel that is steeped in history and heart. Atakora drew largely from actual historic records, basing elements of the plot and characters on the stories of formerly enslaved people collected by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. The characters and their relationships are the soul of this…

Real Life

“The most unfair part of it, Wallace thinks, is that when you tell white people that something is racist, they hold it up to the light and try to discern if you are telling the truth.” One sign of a truly great book is that when you finish reading it, the book doesn’t end. You…

Death in Her Hands

DEATH IN HER HANDS is Ottessa Moshfegh’s riff on the classic detective novel. The “detective” is Vesta, a lonely old widow who stumbles upon a note in the woods that alludes to a woman’s murder. The note consumes Vesta’s every thought. Her mind runs wild as she fabricates clues and invents background stories for the…

The Mirror & The Light

THE MIRROR & THE LIGHT by Hilary Mantel was my most anticipated book of 2020. I absolutely loved the first two books in the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy and I’ve been waiting almost 8 years for this final book, so needless to say my excitement and expectations were very high! But don’t worry, it did not…

Everywhere You Don’t Belong

I’m a sucker for coming-of-age stories ESPECIALLY ones centered on diverse characters. So when I got a copy of Gabriel Bump’s sharply funny debut novel EVERYWHERE YOU DON’T BELONG, I just couldn’t wait to read it! Claude McKay Love is a young, black boy growing up in the south side of Chicago in the 1990s….