Illustrations by Jon Krause, Special to the Star Tribune

Summer Books

Life slows down in summer, with the heat, the humidity, the long languorous days. You’ve got time to read — but how do you decide what to read? We’ve scoured the offerings and winnowed the field for you. Inside this special section are reviews of 45 books — mysteries, novels, story collections and books for young adults. Pull up a lawn chair, pour yourself a cool drink, settle in and read. Don’t forget your sunscreen and your hat. We’re here to transport you to new worlds.

  • All Books (45)
  • Fiction (15)
  • Mystery (15)
  • Young Adult (15)
  • List (45)

Gravity Is the Thing

By Jaclyn Moriarty

Jaclyn Moriarty’s hilarious, incandescent novel "Gravity Is the Thing" takes us along on Abigail (Abi) Sorensen’s quest to find balance in her life after a family tragedy. Abi has been struggling with grief since her younger brother, who had just been diagnosed with MS, disappeared on the eve of her 16th birthday. At first friends offer advice: It’s been six months, time to let it go. Her parents reach an "intransient dichotomy" –– her father is sure Robert is dead; her mother believes he is alive –– that leads to divorce. Twenty years later, after a failed marriage, ostensibly because she talked too much about Robert, Abi is living in Sydney with her son Oscar. She gives up her law career and opens the Happiness Café, with the idea of immersing herself and customers in a cheerful atmosphere. On a self-help binge, she finds a book advising her to watch for coincidences and messages. Another preaches that if you think good thoughts, good things will come to you. As if "we were all magnets," Abi quips. Conversely if something bad happens to you does that mean it’s your fault? Try as she might, Abi can’t shake the sadness that has become part of who she is. She finds some amusement and comfort in "The Guidebook," a mysterious publication that offers a promise of "a reason to keep living with the absence of knowledge." She doesn’t know why or how she was chosen to receive a chapter at a time with its odd mix of philosophical digressions, nonsensical instructions and random advice, but it suits her offbeat sensibilities. "I loved it because it was insane," she says after reading: "Study the clouds, draw picture of them, tape it to your ceiling. That way you will learn that skies are not the limit." When she receives an invitation to attend an all-expenses-paid retreat to learn "The Truth" about the Guidebook, she’s all in. Although the truth revealed is absurd, Abi and a small group of eclectic seekers, who also are looking for something missing in their lives, agree to attend free sessions for further instructions led by the kindly, rather awkward son of the Guidebook’s deceased founders. Abi, who doesn’t give up on finding her center of gravity no matter what setbacks she encounters, captivates the reader with her quirky view of life. In the end, the answers she seeks come in unexpected ways. Moriarty’s originality and humor flow on every page of this wise take on loss and healing. (HarperCollins, $26.99, July 23)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune

The Stationery Shop

By Marjan Kamali

On the day Roya and Bahman, who met in a small stationery shop and fell in love reading the poetry Rumi, plan to marry, Bahman doesn’t show up. She learns later that Bahman married a woman from a wealthy family picked by his mother. She never sees him again in Iran. At her father’s insistence, the brokenhearted Roya and her younger sister leave for an education in America. Roya yearns for the loved ones, language, food and culture, she left behind. In her seventies, married and living near Boston, she coincidently learns that Bahman lives in a nursing home nearby. In a rush of emotion, the two reunite and the unfortunate circumstances of their separation are revealed. A tender story of enduring love. (Gallery Books, $26, June 18)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune

The Great Unexpected

By Dan Mooney

Joel Monroe has had enough. Since his wife died he’s been in a perpetual bad mood. The caregivers at the Hilltop Nursing Home are kind, but he’s tired of being told what to eat, when to sleep, when to wake up. He decides that suicide is the only way out of the mono­tony. His roommate, the flamboyant former soap opera star Frank De Selby, agrees to help plan his departure, but the event will have to be "profound … theatrical … encapsulating." Frank suggests that a change of scene will help them think. The renegades cause havoc when they gleefully escape to city pubs and nightspots. Bonding over pints, they confide their fears, frustrations and regrets as friendship and trust give Joel a new outlook. Piercingly funny and profound. (Park Row Books, $15.99, Aug. 15)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune

Hunter’s Moon: A Novel in Stories

By Philip Caputo

Caputo’s compelling novel in stories, set in the wild landscape of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, examines relationships between men—friends, fathers and sons— against a backdrop of hunting and fishing. In one story, a wife of an alcoholic charges two friends to keep her husband sober on their annual game hunting trip. An argument between two veterans, one who carries demons from Vietnam and another who spent his service in Georgia instead of Afghanistan, erupts into violence. A hunting trip in Alaska tests the wills of a father and his reckless son. Strains of alcoholism, post-traumatic stress and father/son tensions play out in nature. A masterful storyteller, Caputo holds us in his sway with vibrant prose and an understanding of troubled souls. (Henry Holt & Company, $28, Aug. 6)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune

The Cuban Comedy

By Pablo Medina

Seventeen-year-old Elena falls under the spell of poetry "as if a voice came to her that needed to be fed and freed and heard." An accident that disfigures her left hand, her marriage to a damaged young man whose drinking kills him, and the birth of her daughter can’t keep her from writing. When she wins a national award, she leaves her daughter in her grandmother’s care, joins a group of writers in Havana and falls in love with Daniel, the revered Bard of the Revolution. When he falls out of favor with the government, they are forced to make difficult choices. On the wings of magic realism and lush language, Pablo Medina celebrates artists who expose the cruelties and absurdities of war and politics. (The Unnamed Press, $16.99, July 9)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune

More News Tomorrow

By Susan Richards Shreve

Seventy-year old Georgianna and her family visit a Wisconsin campsite where her mother was murdered decades earlier to investigate new clues. Violent weather, inexperienced campers and the disappearance of a child make this a potent family drama. (W.W. Norton, $25.95)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune

In West Mills

By De’Shawn Charles Winslow

Azelea Centre, a well-educated woman who hides her vulnerabilities in an alcoholic haze, is a force field in this novel about the power of friendship and family to overcome adversity in West Mills, a small Southern black community. (Bloomsbury USA, $26)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune

The Summer We Lost Her

By Tish Cohen

Matt and Elise hope a family vacation in the Adirondacks will ease marital tensions stemming from conflicting priorities and expectations. When their daughter Gracie goes missing, their already rocky relationship is put to the test. (Scout Press, $26)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune

The Summer Country

By Lauren Willig

Emily visits a plantation in Barbados that she inherited from her grandfather and finds a ruined property enshrouded in mystery. Set in the years leading up to a 1816 slave uprising and its aftermath, this historical novel contrasts the island’s beauty with its troubled past. (William Morrow, $26.99)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune


By Nicola Harrison

Summer at a Gilded Age resort, where her husband expects her to circulate with influential socialites, isn’t Beatrice’s idea of fun. She prefers walks in the countryside over lavish parties. Encounters with a handsome lighthouse keeper spark a life-changing romance. (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune

Mrs. Everything

By Jennifer Weiner

Sisters Jo and Bethie navigate sweeping social, political and cultural changes from 1951 to 2016, including the civil rights movement, feminism, sexual freedom and gay rights. Jennifer Weiner’s big book views these tumultuous times up close and personal. (Atria, $28, June 11)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune


By Heidi Diehl

When Louise travels to Germany with her daughter to attend the funeral of her former mother-in-law, she revisits her complicated relationship with her ex-husband. Her easygoing current spouse finds the prospect of their reunion troubling. For good reason. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, June 18)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune


By Season Butler

Teenage "Kid" is abandoned by her parents on an island community of elderly citizens, who don’t want her around. She scrambles to survive under adverse circumstances. You can’t help but root for this resourceful but vulnerable girl, who yearns for her parents’ return. (Harper, $26.99, June 25)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune


By Karen Kelly

Joanna, her husband and their two children live in his family’s stuffy baronial home with his polite but guarded mother and grandmother. An old photo album leads Joanna to clues of an untold family story that explains the in-laws’ strange behavior. (St. Martin’s Press, $26.99, July 9)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune

Ellie and the Harpmaker

By Hazel Prior

Ellie, a housewife who writes poetry, first meets the reclusive harp maker Dan in his studio, surrounded by his beautiful creations. When she mentions her dream of learning to play the harp, he gives her one, sparking a friendship that brings them both joy and trouble. (Berkley, $26, Aug. 6)

Reviewed by Elfrieda Abbe, Special to the Star Tribune


By Blake Crouch

Androids do not “dream of electric sheep.” They dream of real ones. Sort of. In one of the most poignant scenes in Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner,” adapted from Philip K. Dick’s novella named after the aforementioned sheep, Rachel, a replicant, wrestles with the realization she’s been fed false memories. She may have been dreaming of real sheep, but they were planted in her mind from someone else’s memories of them. The construct that memories shape identity and that false ones can alter a person’s reality is a well-examined theme in literature. This summer Blake Crouch’s fantastic philosophical thriller “Recursion” takes on this construct with fresh eyes. With his ingenious plotting, cinematic action and unflappable characters, Crouch has created a thriller I won’t soon forget. Barry Sutton is a detective who loves solving puzzles and feels a compulsion to put things right. His teenage daughter died in a hit and run accident, and when he’s not working Barry is “living more in memories than the present.” Mark Slade is a billionaire philanthropist who loves “disrupting the status quo.” He’s created a scientific superstructure on a decommissioned oil rig to build a machine (a chair) that will manipulate memories like Barry’s. Helena Smith is a deeply moral scientist who “spends the first part of her life” working with Slade to create a way to digitally map memories that can be implanted in people suffering from dementia, but she spends “the rest of her life trying to destroy” what she created. These three characters are the catalysts in a clever plot that more than once folds into itself. The story begins with Barry trying to talk a woman off a ledge. Her final words when she jumps are that her son has “been erased.” Barry knows she’s suffering from False Memory Syndrome (FMS), an epidemic that’s spreading around the world, “traveling in social circles,” infecting friends and co-workers. Her memories have been altered, and her son has become a “dead memory,” his existence only a “detailed dream.” When Barry and Helena’s narratives loop into each other’s, they realize the world is falling down a rabbit hole of events. Reality is shifting over and over again each time someone uses the chair. They need to stop Slade before the world has no past to remember. In “Recursion,” Crouch is playing with time and reality, memory and identity, riffing on the Orwellian tenet that he who controls the past controls the future, but he’s also crafted an entertaining riff on the nature of consciousness, that “time is a construct made of human memory.” If our memories are “the filter between us and reality” what happens to us, to the world, when someone changes the filter? (Crown, $27, June 11)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

The Satapur Moonstone

By Sujata Massey

Sujata Massey’s first novel in her series set in 1920s India won the Mary Higgins Clark Award at the 2019 Edgars. This sequel is as beautifully written and engaging as the first one. Perveen Mistry, the first female lawyer in Bombay, agrees to investigate a curse that appears to plague the royal family of Satapur, a remote independent region in India that the colonial British government thinks is ruled by “a nursery of spoiled children.” While living in the lush royal enclave among the “rui shrubs, Burmese cassias” and “flame-colored hibiscus,” Perveen uncovers “a mysterious affair,” involving the death of a dowager, the kidnapping of a maharaja, a missing moonstone, and her own closed-off heart. (Soho Crime, $25.95)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

The Black Jersey

By Jorge Zepeda Patterson

Every summer some of my family ride in a 50-mile bike race in the Northwoods. Riding that distance never appealed to me (if I’m going 50 miles it’s in a car). But the adrenaline rush I got from reading Jorge Zepeda Patterson’s thriller about a murderer stalking the Tour de France was enough to make me kick off my training wheels. Set over the course of the tour (23 days and 2,000 miles) with the domestique of the lead team, aka Hannibal (he bites off the alps faster than anyone), as the amateur detective. This is a gripping behind-the-scenes thriller, and with clever foresight the book’s release is timed to this year’s Tour. (Random House, $27, June 25)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

The Need

By Helen Phillips

An elegant dread slips through this elusive novel like wisteria on a crumbling wall. Molly is a paleobotanist and the exhausted mother of an infant and toddler. In a dig, she and her team uncover a “well-preserved plant” that isn’t in the fossil record. They then find a Coke bottle, a toy soldier with a monkey’s tail, a tin of mints that’s “slightly the wrong shape,” and a strange Bible. The novel begins with Molly hiding her children from an intruder in her house and the narrative slides back and forth between her professional life and her post-partum one. Many books claim to be domestic thrillers. “The Need” is the mother of them all. (Simon & Schuster, $26, July 9)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

Speaking of Summer

By Kalisha Buckhanon

Autumn is the one speaking of Summer, her twin sister who vanished one night from the roof of their New York apartment building. No body. No witnesses. Despite regular visits to the local precinct, Autumn can’t get anyone to keep looking for Summer. In Autumn, Kalisha Buckhanon has created a narrative voice that’s authentic, emotionally charged and wise, but beneath the surface of the story lurks the unraveling of a life and how “even the biological imperative to survive” can sometimes lose against the “power of past experiences.” Buckhanon has crafted a deeply moving psychological mystery with twists that come in unhurried moments like the small notes the sisters buried in bottles in their garden shed. I’m going to be talking about Summer for a while. (Counterpoint, $26, July 30)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

Those People

By Louise Candlish

No Minnesota Nice in the posh neighborhood Louise Candlish has imagined in this entertaining thriller. Those new people on the corner are bringing down property values. When a tragic accident happens, everyone comes under suspicion. Everyone’s guilty of something. (Berkley, $26, June 11)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune


By Denise Mina

In this ingenious cheeky cracker of a thriller, Denise Mina has created an anatomy of a murder. Wealthy housewife Anna McLean is “awash in fictions,” obsessed with true-crime podcasts, the kind narrated in “ponderous tones.” She’s also hiding a past worthy of one. (Little, Brown, $13.99, June 18)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

Lock Every Door

By Riley Sager

Knock! Knock! Who’s there? Certainly not what Jules wanted when she took an apartment-sitting job in a celebrated building with tony residents and sinister secrets. Jules soon believes the building is haunted because “so many bad things have happened there.” (Dutton, $26, July 2)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

Bad Axe County

By John Galligan

Once a Wiscon­sin dairy queen, Heidi Kick is now the interim sheriff of her home county, a place populated with struggling farms, political corruption and a killer gone undetected for years. Heidi probes the past and fights the feeling that she “may not be permanent sheriff material.” (Atria, $26, July 9)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

The Shameless

By Ace Atkins

Ace Atkins’ outstanding series featuring Mississippi sheriff and ex-Ranger Quinn Colson continues with an investigation of a cold case with Colson connections amid the usual violence and vice that’s Tibbehah County. (Putnam, $27, July 9)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

Lady in the Lake

By Laura Lippman

With shifting points of view and a layered plot set in 1960s Baltimore, Lippman has created a perceptive, provocative thriller about a once wealthy white woman searching for meaning by investigating the life and death of a black woman. (Morrow, $26.99, July 23)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

The Churchgoer

By Patrick Coleman

Amen for this gripping debut! A prodigal ex-pastor’s compassion for a homeless woman sends him to the altar of a big church and its oversized religion, where he wrestles with the seven deadly sins. (Harper Perennial, $16.99, July 30)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

The Turn of the Key

By Ruth Ware

Rowena Caine, once a nanny working in a Scottish castle, narrates this chilling thriller from prison. A child is dead and everything Caine did and didn’t do is being held against her, including the lies that got her there in the first place. (Gallery/Scout, $27.99, Aug. 6)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

The Bitterroots

By C.J. Box

It had been the Summer of Fire in Montana, and September is only getting hotter for PI Cassie Dewel. Cassie has agreed to investigate the circumstances of a sexual assault case involving “the curse of the third generation” of a family in the Bitterroot Range. (Minotaur, $27.99, Aug. 13)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune


By Steve Cavanagh

Lawyer Eddie Flynn doesn’t “roll for the guilty” no matter who they are. Yet he joins the defense in a heinous double murder trial. Joshua Kane has a gift for mimicry. He’s juror No. 13 in this cleverly plotted thriller. My verdict: a blockbuster. (Flatiron, $26.99, Aug. 13)

Reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman, Special to the Star Tribune

Road Tripped

By Peter Hautman

What happens when you have a character stuck in your head and you meet a writer friend who mentions Prairie du Chien, Wis.? If you’re Pete Hautman, a novel with shared characters traveling the Great River Road is born. The hero of “Road Tripped” is 17-year-old Stiggy, a 130-pound ball of snarl, who takes his anger out on anyone in his path. Stiggy’s dad has committed suicide, Stiggy has alienated his best friend, and he and his mom barely talk. When he meets Gaia, a classmate going through her own dark period, he finds a thread of connection. But as their relationship hits a rough patch, Stiggy goes into a tailspin and lights out in his dad’s old Mustang for a trip down the Great River Road. As he zigzags from one river town to the next, he meets a series of down-on-their-luck characters, including a canny stripper, a happy trucker, an entitled frat boy and Knob, a savant itinerant laborer, whose doses of cryptic insight give the novel a layer of philosophic depth. Each character tries to deliver a small dose of insight to Stiggy, who is, for the most part, too caught up in his own misery to listen. But as he travels deeper on his own personal odyssey, he begins to see that there are other social strategies besides a snarl. “You ever heard of Zeno?” Knob asks Stiggy. “This dead Greek dude. Philosopher. He proved you can’t get anywhere, ’cause first you have to get halfway.” Early in the trip, Stiggy finds an iPod of his dad’s favorite music and begins to reflect on the small but hurtful ways his dad blamed others for his depression. Later, he encounters a series of toxic, rapey young men who push him to face uncomfortable questions about male entitlement — and how that affects the young women he’s attracted to. Stiggy’s journey doesn’t lead to big changes. Hautman is too canny as a writer for that. But by showing us the half-steps, he shows us the tiny steps we all make toward getting somewhere halfway. As for the shared characters? Readers will have to wait for Minneapolis writer Geoff Herbach’s next book to hear their stories. (Simon & Schuster, $17.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

Patron Saints of Nothing

By Randy Ribay

High school senior Jay Reguero has been living quietly in his mostly white Midwestern suburb when a phone call from his dad’s family in the Philippines changes his course. His cousin Jun has been murdered. A mysterious text suggests Jun was unfairly targeted, galvanizing Jay into making a trip to the Philippines. There, Jay encounters the layers of wealth — a mall with a skating rink — and the poverty of the slums as he traces Jun’s path from wealthy son to activist. Randy Ribay’s third novel offers a layered portrait of male friendship and cultural disconnection. (Kokila, $17.99, June 18)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

This Book is Not Yet Rated

By Peter Bognanni

Ethan, 17, is the manager of a failing south Minneapolis movie theater, in charge of a band of misfits, including a Lebanese-American film snob, a pothead, a “200-year-old” organ player, and a reclusive 30-something projectionist whom others call the Oracle. When Green Street Cinema receives an eviction notice, Ethan and his colleagues must marshal their resources to rescue the moviehouse for its dwindling but loyal audience. The return of Ethan’s unrequited love interest adds another layer of complication. Peter Bognanni’s second YA novel is full of obscure film references and laugh-out-loud moments. In the end, it’s an ode to an era when going to the movies offered a spark of unexpected communion. (Dial, $17.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune


By Kirstin Cronin-Mills

The twangy, melancholy echo of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” threads through this story of a Duluth family’s struggle with ALS. High school junior Tobin’s biggest challenge is landing a scholarship to art school when her single dad, Steve, drops a bombshell — he’s quitting his job after his diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Overnight, he is nudging Tobin to plan a future that won’t include him. As Tobin struggles to find her emotional balance — and plan a final birthday party for him — she finds unexpected allies in her dad’s personal care attendant and a neighbor boy, Sid, who has a quiet crush on her. “Wreck” gains momentum as it builds to a wrenching conclusion. (Sky Pony Press, $16.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

Last Things

By Jacqueline West

In a backwoods barn converted to a bar in southern Minnesota, local band Last Things is tearing up the stage, drawing fans from as far away as Minneapolis. Lead singer Anders Thorson is the draw, a high school senior who has become a magnetic stage presence, with songs pouring out of him and the most beautiful girl at school seeking him out. But he’s sure he doesn’t deserve any of it after a dark encounter in the woods. And he has an oddball stalker on his trail, Thea, who is doing her best to keep the darkness of the woods from swallowing him whole. Jacqueline West spins a spooky, suspenseful fairy tale, about the lure of the music business and a small town about to be swallowed by dark forces. (Greenwillow, $17.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune


By Samira Ahmed

The president has signed laws that lead Muslims to be sent to camps. Layla Amin and her Jewish boyfriend must find a way to undermine the regime. (Little, Brown, $17.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

With the Fire on High

By Elizabeth Acevedo

Teen mom Emoni Santiago faces a tough decision — culinary school or a more practical path? A romance and recipes round out this warm novel. (Harper, $17.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

White Rose

By Kip Wilson

As dissent is choked off in Nazi Germany, Sophie joins the White Rose resistance, risking her life to oppose fascism in this verse novel based on true events. (Versify, $17.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

The Things She’s Seen

By Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

A cheeky ghost tries to distract her grieving dad in this thriller that confronts historic trauma inflicted on Australia’s aboriginal community. (Knopf, $17.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me

By Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Freddy struggles to break away from a toxic relationship in this graphic novel, which offers a layered portrait of LGBT teens. (First Second, $17.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

The Clockwork Ghost

By Laura Ruby

Tess, Theo and their pal Jaime are on the trail of the powerful Morningstarr Cipher as the magic turns darker in Book 2 of the steampunk York series. (Walden Pond Press, $17.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

Love from A to Z

By S.K. Ali

A 13th-century Islamic scholar’s journal brings together Zayneb Malik with Adam Chen in this offbeat romance that tackles racism and Islamo​- phobia. (Simon & Schuster, $18.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

Hope and Other Punch Lines

By Julie Buxbaum

Captured in a photo during the Sept. 11 attacks, Abbi has been known as “Baby Hope.” As her 17th birthday nears, her health deteriorates. (Delacorte, $18.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

Like a Love Story

By Abdi Nazemian

A closeted Iranian teen, an aspiring young fashion designer and an out-and-proud classmate become activists at the height of the AIDS crisis as they struggle to balance their romantic feelings with friendship. (Balzer + Bray, $17.99)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune

Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black

By Marcus Sedgwick, Julian Sedwick and Alexis Deacon

A conscientious objector heads to the Underworld in this novel exploring World War II through the myth of Orpheus. (Walker, $17.99, Aug. 13)

Reviewed by Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune