What does 1970s Brooklyn, a dystopian Britain where the population is held captive in massive citadels, and conspiracy theories about 12” shape-shifting reptiles have in common?

Not much except those are part of the stories that I’ve read in the past month. These three books are varied in genre and tone but are all fantastic, and I hope there is something that will pique your interest and make you want to pick up one of the books.

Enjoy your reading!

Another Brooklyn

Jacqueline Woodson

Genre: Historical Fiction

What’s in the pages? In the 1970s there existed two versions of Brooklyn. One version is one that August and her friends know, having fun, sharing confidence and ruling the city streets. They believed that Brooklyn was part of why they were so beautiful, talented, brilliant, and they thought that their friendships would last forever.

But the other version of Brooklyn is a seedier, more dangerous place. Full of men who grab for young girls in the safety of darkness, mothers disappeared, and the monsters aren’t just under your bed.

Why should you read it? What a beautiful book; seriously, it’s stunning.

Essentially, this book is a 177-page poem. Woodson does a fantastic job of transporting you back into the 1970s and capturing the experience of childhood naivety and carelessness while also transposing it against the backdrop of the protagonist August’s adult life.

There is plenty to go back to in this short novel – coping with loss, the black experience in the 1970s, how the things we go through and the memories we have shape us as individuals… it is a remarkable exploration of the human spirit and the human condition. I can’t wait to reread it!

Them: Adventures with Extremists

Jon Ronson

Genre: Non Fiction/ Humour/ Politics

What’s in the pages? When Jon Ronson started Them, it was a mission to meet the world’s extremists. Through doing that he learns that Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis and the Ku-Klux-Klan all share a bizarre belief – that a tiny group of the shadowy elite run the world from a secret room.

His book then took a different turn; he was on the hunt to try and expose ‘them’, whoever ‘they’ are. As a Jewish journalist, he’s often considered part of their group, but he has never been invited to a meeting. Until he manages to infiltrate one in the forests of northern California where he witnesses CEOs and politicians take part in a bizarre owl ritual.

Why should you read it? In a hilarious tale of the hatred that men can harbour, Jon Ronson takes on the people at the fringes of society. He talks to extremists, hate groups and conspiracy theorists (most notably Alex Jones) and highlights their different factions and the infighting they have against each other.

When most people think of conspiracy theories about the Bilderberg group and the ‘ruling elite’, they often think about 12” shape-shifting lizards. Still, the truth is much more rational, but also, more bizarre.

Jon Ronson manages to approach a delicate subject with such a level headed calm that his writing comes off as almost humorous since a lot of what he sees doesn’t seem to faze him. If you are looking for a fun book about an insane subject to pass the time, I would highly recommend this one!

Underdogs: Tooth and Nail 

Chris Bonnello

Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian Sci-Fi

What’s in the pages? Set three weeks after the events of Underdogs (read my review in last month’s issue if interested). The heroes of Oakenfold Special School remain as the British population’s last chance at freedom.

As the population are kept captive in giant Citadels throughout the nation, by Nicholas Grant, the Underdogs must face the unimaginable horrors of his new research as they try to save the British People…

But will they be able to do it?

Why should you read it? In last month’s issue, I talked about how these books have fantastic representation for people with disabilities so I won’t repeat myself.

In this review, I wanted to talk about how amazing these books are, especially Tooth and Nail. With his second book, Bonnello shows his chops as an author and comes into his own.

While his first book was a real page-turner, this one is even more suspenseful, thrilling, enthralling and heartbreaking. What is interesting about his writing is that Bonnello writes all of his characters as three-dimensional people (even the ones with lesser roles), and this allows the reader to feel the real stakes of the missions that the Underdogs undertake.

Underdogs: Tooth and Nail is a fast-paced page-turner, that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I highly recommend it!

For more book recommendations follow Joel’s Instagram @neurodiversebookworm.