Kirkus Reviews Stars & Recommendations

PIECE OF MIND by Michelle Adelman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 8, 2016

"This labor of love pens a soft-edged portrait of a subject who struggles to grasp complexity."
A wayward woman with little executive function tries to wrest back control of her life. Read full book review >
THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US by Emily Skrutskie
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Feb. 8, 2016

"Personal and cultural complexities distinguish this fresh and fascinating look at a lawless future. (Science fiction. 14 & up)"
The world's geopolitical balance rests on a genetically modified sea monster and his 17 1/2-year-old trainer. Can she resist the adrenaline rush of a pirate's life to keep the world aright? Read full book review >

THE DRUM WITHIN by James R. Scarantino
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 8, 2016

"Come what may, Aragon never loses her focus on tying Cody to an older homicide he was linked to years ago, with results equally surprising to her and the reader. First of a welcome series."
A Santa Fe homicide detective fights to make a case against a high-profile killer she's responsible for setting free. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 8, 2016

"Fascinating to dip into casually and essential to students of the Kennedy administration, the Cold War, and late-20th-century world history."
Three months, 1,700 pages. But what months they were: a season in the midterm administration of John F. Kennedy marked by faltering polls, the aftermath of near nuclear war, and one crisis after another. Read full book review >
DISGRACED by Gwen Florio
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 8, 2016

"Lola's third (Dakota, 2014, etc.) is a gut-wrenching mystery/thriller that explores prejudice and the incredible stress on soldiers in a seemingly unending war with no clear goals."
A favor for a friend leads a reporter to a stunning story and life-altering decisions. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Far less edifying than the Constitutional Convention but equally crucial, the colorful machinations of our first Congress receive a delightful account that will keep even educated readers turning the pages."
While the Constitution outlined the theory of our nation, the obstreperous first Congress converted it to reality. It was not a pretty picture, and popular historian Bordewich (America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise that Preserved the Union, 2012, etc.) delivers an entertaining description of how "it transmuted the Constitution from a paper charter and a set of hopeful aspirations into the machinery of a functioning government."Read full book review >
INCARCERATION NATIONS by Baz Dreisinger
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"An eye-opening, damning indictment of the American prison system and the way its sins reverberate around the globe."
A writer and social activist chronicles her visits to prisons around the globe to gain insight into what works and doesn't work. Read full book review >
YOU SHOULD PITY US INSTEAD by Amy Gustine
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Gustine's stories give the impression that in every life there is a story worth telling, of triumph and of pain, if only we take the time to look."
Gustine's debut collection examines the compelling lives and struggles of people we might think of as ordinary and the pain that can come from simply trying to make it through life. Read full book review >
PRIVATE CITIZENS by Tony Tulathimutte
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"A satirical portrait of privilege and disappointment with striking emotional depth."
Tulathimutte's razor-sharp debut tracks a group of recent Stanford grads anxiously navigating post-college life in mid-2000s San Francisco. Read full book review >
BREAKING WILD by Diane Les Becquets
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"A transcendent, breathless exploration of the darkest depths of loneliness and the unbreakable human spirit."
In her adult fiction debut, Les Becquets (Season of Ice, 2008, etc.) writes of a woman lost in the wild and the woman who tries to save her, alternating chapters between their two compelling voices. Read full book review >
THE LOST TIME ACCIDENTS by John Wray
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"An omnium-gatherum of 20th-century physics and spirituality that ultimately gathers too much."
A sprawling, heady tale of time travel with detours into alternative religion, pulp science fiction, the Holocaust, and much, much—much—more. Read full book review >
THE LETTER BEARER by Robert Allison
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Elegantly and exactingly written. A touch ponderous at times but oddly—beg pardon—unforgettable."
A mysterious man tries to find himself while traversing a hellish landscape of war. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >