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Book Reviews

Looking to read more Indiana authors?

Every month, we’re releasing a book review highlighting a new book by a Hoosier author, reviewed by a Hoosier writer. Check back every month for a new recommendation or look for the review in your local paper.

All Book Reviews

Do Mommies Ever Sleep?

On the front cover, a mommy, slightly rumpled, sits in an overstuffed chair cradling her baby.    A thought bubble floats above her baby’s head, creating an ingenious way to display the book’s title while also offering a clue about the fun that is to come. Right from the start, the introduction of baby as narrator sets […]


Joyelle McSweeney’s Death Styles guttingly manifests the time-estranging effects of maternal grief.  Written in the aftermath of the death of the poet’s thirteen-day-old daughter, the voice—with gripping intensity and dark humor—gives in to the stretches and perversions wrought by the black hole made by a life and a future pulled back into the raw material […]


When I worked there, Syracuse University didn’t have an English Department but instead offered a Textual Studies Department. This was a response to the traditional historical coverage model’s severe and expanding failings. Why concentrate solely on American, British, and Irish writers? What about Canadian, Australian, Indian, Jamaican, South African writing? Were these works not “English” […]

The Unicorn Legacy: Tangled Magic

Part fantasy, part mystery, but all fun, Kamilla Benko’s middle grade novel The Unicorn Legacy: Tangled Magic introduces readers to another story set in the land of Arden, where Benko’s The Unicorn Quest series takes place. However, readers don’t need to be familiar with her previous work to enjoy this one, as it stands alone […]


The post-life of an addict is oftentimes described as miraculous. The transformation from selfish, delusional, piss-in-the-bed, black-out, screaming drunk to clear-eyed, less self-centered, accomplished, responsible, possibly loving person is not a rare occurrence, even though it is statistically uncommon. (All you have to do is walk into an AA club room, and you’ll find the […]


Shelby Mahurin’s The Scarlet Veil comes on the heels of her bestselling Serpent & Dove series, and is set in the same French-inspired world of witches, hunters, and other dark and sexy supernatural creatures. Célie Tremblay, a girl haunted by the events of the recent past, has joined the ranks of the huntsmen to prove […]


“When we drove, it felt like we were traveling just for the sake of traveling. Where we were going or why didn’t matter to me. I never knew, and when I asked, it was only to hear [my mom’s] voice when she answered, ‘To hell if we don’t change our ways!’”                                     —Brittany Means, Hell […]


In the aptly named short story collection Imagine Your Life Like This, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor Sarah Layden introduces readers to an assemblage of vividly drawn characters, all striving to pin down who they are or might be. The titular story establishes the collection’s preoccupation with the tools we use to define identity. In […]


Meet the Megafauna!, a recent children’s book by Gabrielle Balkan, is described as getting to know 20 of the largest animals to ever roam the Earth. Yes, size does matter. But we’re not talking mega dinosaurs here. Her choices are of comparatively lesser-known champions, most of which postdate the extinction of those ruling reptiles. Even […]

Come Back in September

Our new neighbors were remote, hidden by trees, winding fences, ivy, and double doors. Raccoons and boogeymen shook the woods; cardinals banged into the picture windows and boomeranged from view; crows kept watch from telephone wires, disappeared beyond chimneys, and popped up with kernels of dry dog food in their beaks. Golden retrievers scampered ahead […]