Starred Reviews for Percival Everett, Sunjeev Sahota, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Anne Curzan, and more!

By Kate McManus | January 31 2024 | Starred Reviews

With starred reviews from publications including Booklist, AudioFile, and Library Journal—your patrons will want to read these much-anticipated books that reviewers are raving about.


The Phoenix Bride
A Novel

“Narrated in alternating points of view and featuring diversity along multiple axes, including religion and LGBTQIA+ identity, this lyrically written and utterly romantic novel from Siegel (Solomon’s Crown) will appeal to readers of historical fiction and epic love stories.” —Library Journal, starred review

The Prospects
A Novel

“Queer joy and a healthy dash of hope infuse nearly every page of Hoffman’s home-run debut novel… The plot follows the tried-and-true sports romance formula that will please fans, while the love story and the tenacious, hopeful hero at its center will give readers the warm fuzzies.” —Library Journal, starred review

A Novel

“Everett (English, Univ. of Southern California), author of The Trees and Erasure, has written an even richer and penetrating Adventures than Twain’s already rich masterpiece. It will fly off library shelves.” —Library Journal, starred review

The Hunter's Daughter

“A mix of Karen Dionne’s The Marsh King’s Daughter and Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs, this impressive novel spotlights the difficulty of escaping a troubling past. Add some supernatural elements, and the result is a tale to remember.” —Library Journal, starred review

Effie Olsen's Summer Special

“A much less intense version of The Bear, but with all the same familial bonds and restaurant drama. Bilow (Ruby Spencer’s Whiskey Year), a classically trained chef and food writer, serves up a full dish of romance, humor, and meaty plot, with a perfect portion of sexiness on the side.” —Library Journal, starred review

A Year of Last Things

“A powerful, thoughtful collection of observations and contemplations; a beautiful and valuable addition to the world of poetry by one of its most inspiring writers. Readers who love the work of W.S. Merwin, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, and Louise Gluck will want to savor this new collection.” —Library Journal, starred review

Someone You Can Build a Nest In

“Wiswell’s debut is the ultimate monster slayer story, if the monster is just a misunderstood creature searching for love. This romantic fantasy has a great balance of grimness and humor that will appeal to fans of T. Kingfisher’s fantasy titles.” —Library Journal, starred review

A Novel

“Separated by 150 years, two female beings, one living and one undead, grapple with questions of life, death, and immortality… Thirst is an intense, haunting, and captivating novel that draws readers in from beginning to end.” —Booklist, starred review

All the World Beside
A Novel

“[Conley] succeeds in this sprawling, subtle, complex, and rewarding work of powerfully envisioned historical fiction, a novel rich in themes of faith, divinity, desire, and love.” —Booklist, starred review

The Alternatives
A Novel

“Hughes’ (The Wild Laughter, 2020) writing is simply brilliant: An opinion was ‘sculpted in brass in their youth and can never be changed beyond the inevitable tarnishing or a quick polish.’ The dynamics of the sisters’ interactions and the easy way they anticipate each others’ needs while slipping into decades-old roles are the novel’s highlights.” —Booklist, starred review

The Spoiled Heart
A Novel

“Sahota (China Room, 2019) delivers a viscerally charged novel as his sympathy for worker rights takes center stage again. “Class is not a cultural categorisation, it’s a social and economic one,” Nayan argues. Though discussions about such issues can at times turn heavy-handed, there’s plenty of heart and suspense in the latest from Booker Prize–finalist Sahota.” —Booklist, starred review

Once Persuaded, Twice Shy
A Modern Reimagining of Persuasion

“Edwards (Jane & Edward, 2023) perfectly captures the contemplative tone of Austen’s Persuasion and delivers a superbly nuanced heroine who finally breaks free from taking care of everyone else in her life at the expense of herself. Combine this with a sublimely evoked Canadian small-town setting in all its autumnal glory, a charming plot that embraces everything from dealing with family expectations to the relationship wisdom embedded in Taylor Swift songs, and a bracing sense of wit, and you have the perfect read for Austen fans and every reader who enjoys artfully executed love stories.” —Booklist, starred review


How to Feel Alive Again in a World That Wears Us Down

“Sociologist and psychologist Keyes (emeritus, Emory Univ.; editor of Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived) examines languishing, the feeling of being disconnected, rudderless, and irrelevant… Supported by research, this book is a valuable resource for those who may be languishing or who want to find more meaning in their life.”—Library Journal, starred review

The Black Box
Writing the Race

“A must for scholars, yet still accessible to general audiences, by arguably the preeminent scholar of African American studies. This gem brilliantly reflects multiple depictions of what it means to be a Black American amid complex, structured interracial and color-based discrimination discourses, in which writing and language are keys.”—Library Journal, starred review

“Gates tracks questions of class, language, aesthetics, and resistance in a manyfaceted, clarifying, era-by-era chronicle propelled by vivid considerations of such influential Black writers as Phillis Wheatley, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, and Toni Morrison. The “moral,” Gates avers, “is that there never has been one way to ‘be Black.’” Gates concludes with a call to protect the free exchange of ideas in the classroom and beyond.”—Booklist, starred review

3 Shades of Blue
Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and the Lost Empire of Cool

“A compulsively readable book about three jazz legends who came together for one glorious moment to produce one of the best, most influential jazz records ever.”—Library Journal, starred review

Says Who?
A Kinder, Funner Usage Guide for Everyone Who Cares About Words

“Highly recommended for all writers and speakers of English who want to understand why the language works the way it does.”—Library Journal, starred review

Grown Woman Talk
Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy

“A remarkable, accessible offering of feasible action steps that will help women feel more in control of medical issues related to heart health, hormones, cancer, and much more. ”—Library Journal, starred review

The Past, Present, and Future of a World-Changing Idea

“Activists and organizers Taylor (cofounder of Debt Collective; The Age of Insecurity) and Hunt-Hendrix (cofounder of Solidaire and Way To Win) present a full thesis on the concept of solidarity, from its interpretations to its practice… Readers interested in the intersection of politics and practice will devour this impressive work.”—Library Journal, starred review

Brought Forth on This Continent
Abraham Lincoln and American Immigration

“Lincoln scholar Holzer’s latest book again demonstrates his deftness in blending a detailed focus on part of Lincoln’s career, an explanation of how it fits into Lincoln’s life, and a political and historical backdrop… Holzer brings part of America’s past alive and shows that while modern immigrants come from different places, controversies about them are the same as generations ago.”—Booklist, starred review


Life on Other Planets
A Memoir of Finding My Place in the Universe

“Nankani charmingly delivers Sana’s investigation of the estate. Her performance seamlessly weaves suspenseful moments and hopeful discoveries. Although the djinn is depicted as an invisible entity, Sana’s interactions with it are performed with so much care that listeners will feel the genuine connection between the two characters.” —AudioFile Earphones Award

Silent Cavalry
How Union Soldiers from Alabama Helped Sherman Burn Atlanta--and Then Got Written Out of History

“With superb pacing and well-modulated tones, award-winning narrator Mark Bramhall gravely emphasizes the significance of Raines’s findings and keeps listeners engaged as he explores the fallacies of the lost-cause myth.” —Library Journal, starred review

My Name Is Barbra

“The audiobook will be even more in demand when patrons discover the bonus material: there are samplings from 50 Streisand songs sprinkled through the audiobook… An even better bonus is Streisand ad-libbing additional asides into her reading. These are usually just an extra sentence or two, but they add intimacy to the audio.” —Library Journal, starred review

The Wake-Up Call

“Narrators Jessie Cave and Lino Facioli are a delightful duo, expertly capturing upbeat Izzy, uptight Lucas, and their undeniable chemistry. Extra touches, such as a tinny effect on telephone conversations, enhance the already enchanting listening experience.” —Library Journal, starred review