Library Journal‘s editors revealed their Spring 2018 picks, including these five titles:
Kate DiGirolomo, SELF-e Community Coordinator
I’d like to don my metaphorical hipster glasses for a second to proclaim that I knew about L. Penelope’s SONG OF BLOOD & STONE (St. Martin’s, May) before she got the book deal. Her captivating “Earthsinger” series was part of LJ’s SELF-e program, featured among the best fiction the indie world has to offer. In this first installment, magical outcast Jasminda and spy Jack embark on a journey, unexpectedly finding love while trying to save their world from invasion. We’ll certainly miss this one in SELF-e land, but it’ll be exciting to see it reach new audiences—and deservedly so!
Rounding out my novel choices is Shobha Rao’s GIRLS BURN BRIGHTER (Flatiron: Macmillan, Mar.; LJ 1/18). It first caught my attention with its incredible title and then kept it with the two honest, admirable heroines Rao has created. Poornima and Savitha, young women who can see beyond the constraints of their Indian village, will ignite a spark of hope in readers.
Liz French, Senior Editor
And then there’s Weegee, aka Arthur Fellig (1899–1968), the outsize personality and street photographer who prowled the alleys of midcentury Gotham, often scooping the cops at crime scenes and documenting nightlife. New York magazine senior editor Christopher Bonanos tells his story in FLASH: The Making of Weegee the Famous (Holt, Mar.). Thirty of his photographs enhance the work.
Stephanie Sendaula, Associate Editor
Another fascinating book in the same vein is Bryan Mealer’s THE KINGS OF BIG SPRING: God, Oil, and One Family’s Search for the American Dream (Flatiron: Macmillan, Feb.; LJ 2/1/18). After telling myself that I would only read a few pages, I read the entire book in one sitting, engrossed by the fortunes and misfortunes of patriarch John Lewis Mealer and his children and grandchildren, from Georgia to Texas, California to Arizona. Bryan, his grandson, interviews numerous relatives to create a history–turned–collective biography about what it costs personally, professionally, and spiritually to pursue the American Dream.
SLJ colleague Ashleigh Williams recommended to me Brittney Cooper’s ELOQUENT RAGE: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower (St. Martin’s, Feb.; LJ 12/17), and I related to Cooper’s ambivalence toward Jessi from “The Baby-Sitters Club”: “I already knew what it felt like to be the only one in a friend group of white girls.” From that point forward, it often felt like Cooper was expressing thoughts I didn’t always know how to articulate. Sections on black women learning early on to manage their emotions resonated with me, as did her views on growing up within the black church. I appreciated how the book spans memoir, commentary, and call to action.