In this month’s roundup of the best-reviewed BookLife titles, we highlight historical fiction, dystopian sci-fi, a comical guide to fatherhood, a hard-boiled thriller, and the biography of a little-remembered American poet.
Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan
Synopsis: In 1913 Ireland, Maggie Gilligan meets Daniel Healy. But as their friendship turns to romance, WWI begins and Healy signs up to fight.
PW’s Takeaway: An engrossing look at a chapter of Irish history.
Comparable Titles: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Sample Line: “Maggie woke coughing. It was dark but there was something other than darkness in the air, something that climbed into her mouth, scratched at her throat and stole her breath.”
Age of Order by Julian North
Synopsis: In this dystopian sci-fi thriller, a kid from the wrong side of town gets a chance to attend a prestigious school in New York City, the capital of the 49 states led by the faux-meritocratic Orderist movement—and the exclusive realm of the “highborn” rich.
PW’s Takeaway: North has created a near-future world that feels all too believable.
Comparable Titles: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Sample Line: “Flashing globes scrutinized the scene beneath the drone’s rotating turret, an artificial gaze seeing, recording, targeting.”
Slow Bullet by John L. Lansdale
Synopsis: During Vietnam, Robert Spicier saved Clark McKay’s life. Years later, McKay learns of Spicer’s mysterious death and resolves to find the truth.
PW’s Takeaway: Those who like their thrillers with a heavy dose of violent action will be satisfied.
Comparable Titles: Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer series
War Poet by Michael Hill
Synopsis: A look at the life of little-remembered American poet Alan Seeger.
PW’s Takeaway: A wonderful introduction to a fine poet. This volume will bring Seeger’s work to a new generation of readers.
Comparable Titles: Miranda Seymour’s Robert Graves: Life on the Edge
This Is Not Your Father’s Fatherhood by Brian K. Pinaire
Synopsis: Pinaire hilariously attempts to make sense of modern fatherhood after the birth of his son.
PW’s Takeaway: New fathers will learn valuable tips from this account of becoming a parent.
Comparable Titles: Drew Magary’s Someone Could Get Hurt