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Interviews, Recommendations, and More

On Our Radar

New books by Michelle Berry, Alicia Priest, Laisha Rosnau, and Dave Atkinson.

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.



Interference, by Michelle Berry

From Julianne Isaacs' review at The Winnipeg Review

"My friend, this is the book for you. Ominous as its themes may be, Interference is tightly plotted and neatly executed, very nearly perfectly paced, and satisfyingly complex—but it is also escapism in its purest form, and a sheer delight to read.

The inhabitants of Parkville’s Edgewood Drive are normal, familiar. Ralph and Claire are coping with the demands of chemotherapy on Claire’s cancer-stricken body; their teenage children are attempting to cope. Tom and Maria are occupied with worry over their obsessive-compulsive daughter, Becky, and ignoring the problems in their marriage. Across the street, Trish, a busy mother and small-business owner, cleans up after her kids and screens all her calls when she’s finally alone in the house. Next door to Trish lives Dayton, fresh off the plane from California with a new baby—and no sign of a husband. A few streets away live peripheral characters—Michael, a disfigured car-wash employee, and Leah, the mother of a disabled fifteen-year-old who haunts the schoolyard’s play structure."


A Rock Fell on the Moon

A Rock Fell on the Moon, by Alicia Priest

From Caroline Woodward's review at BC BookLook:

"Alicia Priest can still recall being uprooted from a comfortable and loving home in the remote mining village of Elsa, three hundred miles north of Whitehorse, as a bewildered ten-year-old.

Suddenly she was living with her mother, grandmother, sister and one dog in a dank East Vancouver basement suite. On her first day in the big city elementary school, Alicia Priest was asked by another grade five student if her father was the 'Yukon guy in the news.'

Well, yes, Gerald Priest was one of two alleged thieves who were charged with the biggest theft of silver ore in Canadian history. But the bright little girl knew just enough about her mother’s silence and father’s absence to lie about her Dad’s identity on that day.

It has taken Priest almost a lifetime to uncover the truth. Her A Rock Fell On The Moon: Dad and the Great Yukon Silver Ore Heist offers two versions of an almost-perfect crime, and a compelling analysis of her family at the centre of the mystery."


Book Cover Pluck

Pluck, by Laisha Rosnau

From Natalie Zina Walschot's review in Quill & Quire

"Rosnau wrestles with her abject horror of the traditionally feminine and domestic in the pages of Pluck. Her language is direct and straightforward, forcefully specific, as she squeezes, muscles, and manipulates the various and ever-changing constellation of gendered expectations she encounters. In 'Accumulation,' she explores the weight and drudgery of domestic labour; in 'Varanasi,' she discusses the way she is perceived as less feminine when her body changes due to illness and dramatic weight loss.

Pluck is not a rejection of the feminine, however: Rosnau has a complex, sometimes embattled relationship with sex and gender, but she also fiercely defends and deeply explores it... [I]n these poems Rosnau ... sees no simple binary, either conceptually or narratively, only messy plurality."


Book Cover Wereduck

Wereduck, by Dave Atkinson

From Penny Draper's review at The National Reading Campaign

"Dave Atkinson’s Wereduck is a hilarious were-story for middle grade readers. All the characters in Kate’s unusual family are finely drawn, right from Grandma down to little brother Bobby, and the pickled egg and banana eating tabloid reporter known as Dirt Bag is just alarming enough not to be ridiculous. Kate’s plucky plan to save the day will delight animal lovers, and the family’s alternate lifestyle is irresistible—who wouldn’t want to be home-schooled in the middle of a forest, human by day, animal by night?"

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