Staff reviews of this week's new releases
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (release date: June 7)
Goodreads Description:Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and will live in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising children who will be sent abroad to be educated before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the empire. Esi, imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, will be sold into slavery.
Stretching from the wars of Ghana to slavery and the Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the American South to the Great Migration to twentieth-century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi's novel moves through histories and geographies.
Jill's review:(4 out of 5 stars) The first 2/3 of the book had an almost fairytale, ethereal quality to it which made it difficult to put down. Towards the end, however, the flow of the storytelling was interrupted by the author working in certain historical events seemingly to make a statement. The chapters also seemed shorter towards the end which made you feel less connected to the characters and their stories. This is the author’s debut novel, so clearly she has incredible talent. I will look forward to her next book!
Katherine's review:(3 out of 5 stars) I loved large parts of this book. However, the early characters were much more interesting to me than those appearing later in the book and I wish I could have spent more time with them. Given the structure of the book, the novel had to move through time quickly but I felt much less interested and connected to the later stories than those at the beginning. For a debut novel, this is a very impressive book. I look forward to reading Yaa Gyasi's future work.
The Many Selves of Katherine North by Emma Geen (release date: June 7)
Nineteen-year-old Kit works for the research department of Shen Corporation as a phenomenaut. She's been “jumping”--projecting her consciousness, through a neurological interface--into the bodies of lab-grown animals made for the purpose of research for seven years, which is longer than anyone else at ShenCorp, and longer than any of the scientists thought possible. She experiences a multitude of other lives--fighting and fleeing as predator and prey, as mammal, bird, and reptile--in the hope that her work will help humans better understand the other species living alongside them.
(4 out of 5 stars) I enjoyed reading this book. It was hard to put down....definitely a page-turner! It was fun to be immersed in a future in which people can really experience what it is like to be an animal. Who hasn't wondered what it would be like to fly as a bird or to have an elephant's trunk? I felt like the ending of the book and the big reveal were a bit disjointed but overall it was a fun book to read.