Title: Our Souls at Night
Author: Kent Haruf
Summary: Addie has been a widow for quite some time. She’s been Louis’s neighbor for much longer. One night, she invites him to sleep with her. Not sex, per se, just companionable sleeping. She’s lonely and the nightly company of her late husband is what she misses the most. He obliges her, and they form a sweet and significant friendship based on their conversations and the comfortable routine they fall into.
What I Liked: I really love Haruf’s clear writing style. It’s honest and transparent and beautiful. He writes realistic dialog that gradually reveals his characters. And what amazing characters. I fell in love with Addie’s courage and vulnerability and Louis’s honesty and steadfastness right away. Without spoiling the book, I’ll say that there are characters I liked less for their treatment of these two, but I believed that they thought they were making right choices.
What I Didn’t Like: This book could have been twice as long and I’d have loved it. The ending was a little heartbreaking, but not unrealistic.
Pub date: 5/26/15
Title: Lady Killer
Author: Jamie Rich / Artist: Joelle Jones
Summary: Josie is a housewife by day and an assassin by night. This series, set in the 50’s is as compelling to look at as it is to read. It read a little like a Man Men parody and an homage to The Long Kiss Goodnight.
What I Liked: The art is incredibly good. The costume choices and backgrounds are really accurate for the time period. The banter is very decent and the story is fast paced.
What I Didn’t: There’s nothing groundbreaking here. It’s not a new story or even an especially inventive adaptation of a familiar trope. It was a fun read, but not something that stuck with me after I finished.
Pub date: 9/15/15
Title: Heart in a Box
Author: Kelly Thompson / Artist: Meredith McClaven
Summary: Emma has a broken heart, so she trades it to the Man with No Name in exchange for the ability to not hurt. Eventually her emptiness consumes her and she must find the pieces of her heart that have been distributed to those who need them.
What I Liked: Freaking everything. The art, the story, the gradual and beautiful way that tWhathings were revealed. The confrontation and the resolution. This was amazing.
What I Didn’t: Without hesitation I can say that there’s nothing about this book I didn’t like. It was beautiful and I will probably wind up buying a paper copy to loan out to other people.
Pub Date: 9/29/15
Title: Alex + Ada v.3
Author/Illustrator: Sarah Vaughn, Jonathan Luna
Summary: This is the third volume of a series in which Alex has been given an android (Ada), who he then has her unlocked to give her free will. She’s not a human, she’s a robot with a sentient brain. After laws on artificial intelligence tighten, they must hide what they’ve done. This volume picks up as they are risking discovery to be together and free.
What I Liked: As always, the art is crisp and subtly expressive. The story is beautiful, and I really liked the romance between the characters.
What I Didn’t: I wish Ada had a stronger personality after being unlocked, but I could get over that since she’s discovering who she is in a way that is relatable. The end is very rushed and kind of unsatisfactory/boring. I thought the writers could have done something much more dynamic, but maybe they were on a time crunch. Overall kind of a disappointing end to an otherwise very good series.
Pub date: 8/12/15
Title: Not Funny Ha-Ha: A Handbook for Something Hard
Author: Leah Hayes
Summary: This is an illustrated book about abortion. It details the circumstances and experiences of two different women and the choices they make during their decision to terminate pregnancies.
What I Liked: This is a book that doesn’t talk about how the women got pregnant, it doesn’t discuss their decision to have abortions, and it is aggressively anti-shame. Hayes has done something incredibly moving and important and relevant in a world where Planned Parenthood is often struggling with budget cuts and pro-choice protesters. The art is great, the words are great. I want to give copies of this to all my favorite feminists so we can gush about how awesome it is together.
What I Didn’t: Nothing. This is perfect and everyone should read it.
Pub Date: 6/15
Title: An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes
Author: Randy Ribay
Summary: A group of role-playing pals are each going through separate hard things. Archie’s parents are divorcing and he’s moving in with his dad, which means changing schools. Mari’s mom has cancer and is encouraging her to reach out to her biological mom. Sam is deeply in love with Sarah, who is moving to the other side of the country. Dante is forced out of the closet by cousins who see his profile on a gay dating site. Despite all of this, or maybe because of it, they wind up on a cross country road trip which changes each of them in deep and significant ways.
What I Liked: The characters are relatable and engaging. They’re people I’d like to spend more time with. The dialog is good and the issues they’re dealing with are realistic things that lots of people will relate to. The story is paced well and touching. I found myself thinking about this book during mundane chores and wondering about the characters. The diversity is super organic also, which is a refreshing change.
What I Didn’t: No complaints. This is a solid book, and I’m stoked to read more by Ribay. Lots of other people are really going to like this too.
Pub Date: 10/16/15
Title: Between the World and Me
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Summary: You have to be hiding under a rock not to know about this book! Coates wrote this book as a letter to his son after finding out together that Michael Brown’s murderers would be free. This is a book about race, police violence, parenthood, and love. It’s a bigger book than I can describe in this short review. And somehow it’s a very short book that says more than anything else I’ve read this year.
What I Liked: This is beautiful and important and good. I want to hand out copies of this book to everyone I pass on the street and insist that they sit down and read it right then. I want to have conversations about the ways in which media obliterates the humanity of young black men – black boys, because they are children in ways that we aren’t often reminded. When I say I loved this book, I need you to know that I loved every word, every line.
What I Didn’t: There are still people in the world who haven’t read this book.
Pub Date: 7/14/15
Title: I Crawl Through It
Author: A.S. King
Summary: China is a girl who has been turned inside out. Gustav is building an invisible helicopter. Lansdale lies. Stanzi is split in two. They accumulate to the daily bomb threats that move their classes outdoors. And the dangerous bush man plays a different role in each of their lives. Does it sound like these things are unconnected? They aren't. The author weaves a breathtaking these stories into a breathtaking tapestry that is both comforting and unsettling.
What I Liked: This book was a challenging read, which is a credit to the author. The teenage cast of characters in King's most recent book are healing themselves (and occasionally each other) from wildly contrasting traumas. I Crawl Through it is a beautifully surreal book about anxiety and depression, rape, neglect, and the ways that these hellish experiences mark the people who survive them. More than any of that, it's about finding friends who love you and working to crawl through it together.
What I didn’t: There were moments where the surrealism made the story a little hard to follow. But it’s not meant to be 100% realistic narrative. Just took me a minute to wrap my mind around that, really
Pub Date: 9/22/15