Ignite the Stars

Maura Milan’s Ignite the Stars (2018) came to me as a gift with a glowing review. So, I saved it for a day when I could just lose myself in a fictional world without being disturbed. After having been buried in a pile of books that are compelling but heavy on the heart for a…

Severance

My review of Ling Ma’s Severance is intentionally short as I have too much to say about the novel.

Suicide Club

Set in the futuristic New York City, the premise of Rachel Heng’s debut is deceptively simple. What happens when humanity achieves near-immortality? What will be the cost of defying death? When I began reading Suicide Club, I had just found out through one of my students that there are indeed conferences devoted to “curing” aging…

Behold the Many

I was first introduced to Lois-Ann Yamanaka through Blu’s Hanging (1997). So, I thought I was prepared for the series of heartbreaks that ensue from her seventh novel, Behold the Many (2006). I was wrong. The opening scene, alone, reveals how sexual and racial traumas carved onto a young woman’s body are also manifest in the landscape…

The Black Isle

Sandi Tan’s debut, The Black Isle (2012), is a dark and wild coming-of-age story that left me wide awake after finishing it late in the night. The novel is part-horror and part-historical fiction that spans 480 pages. The protagonist, Cassandra, is gifted (or cursed) with the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. She is…

Shadowshaper

In Daniel José Older’s YA fantasy novel Shadowshaper, Brooklyn, New York comes alive as a character more than just a mere backdrop. Older is a former EMT, who has been riding the ambulance through the streets of New York for eight years. In various interviews, he has mentioned how influential his experience as a paramedic has been…