OK, just bear with me; I know I’ve covered these books. But a publisher is like a proud parent when we get reviews like this….
Welcome to Braggsville (9780062302120) by T. Geronimo Johnson. $25.99 hardcover. 2/17/15 on sale.
“The most dazzling, most unsettling, most oh-my-God-listen-up novel you’ll read this year is called Welcome to Braggsville. The 44-year-old author, T. Geronimo Johnson, plays cultural criticism like it’s acid jazz. His shockingly funny story pricks every nerve of the American body politic… As we feign surprise at police brutality and our Twitter outrage flits from Ferguson to Staten Island to Cleveland, this is just the discomfiting book we need….
“His sentences are long and jaggy, sparked with stray cultural references. He dips unpredictably into other characters’ voices, volleying their jokes and pet phrases, nesting ironies within ironies. He feints between first and second person, he moonwalks into history, he spins from comedy to tragedy to editorial in a single paragraph. In short, Johnson does things you don’t think are advisable, which makes his success all the more awesome….
“Johnson is a master at stripping away our persistent myths and exposing the subterfuge and displacement necessary to keep pretending that a culture built on kidnapping, rape and torture was the apotheosis of gentility and honor…[He] forces us to consider our determined ignorance and naivete. Part of growing up in America, he knows, is learning how to negotiate that national amnesia. Welcome to Braggsville. It’s about time.”
— Ron Charles, The Washington Post
The Country of Ice Cream Star (9780062227096) by Sandra Newman. $26.99 hardcover. 2/10/15 on sale.
“Don’t fight about this one…because this book is just too good. Don’t fight, because it would be a shame for the beauty and the power of Ice Cream Star (both the novel and its namesake main character) to get lost in a flood of bickering over who gets to write what about who, and where to shelve a book that reads more than a little bit like a bloody indictment of the entire post-apocalyptic YA genre. Just read it, and sink into it, and let it crawl into your head before you make your judgments…
“[P]lease, read this one. Hang with Ice Cream as she and her people flee before armies, before invaders and death….and adventure with her as she sets out among strange companions to find a cure for dying. If you can’t find worth enough in the words themselves, then the tale will carry you. And when the tale lags, the words will buoy you up…
“[T]ake the thing for what it is — a beautiful, bloody, tragic and joyous tale well told.”
— Jason Sheehan, NPR Book Reviews