Is it YA? Is it literary fiction? Is it a history of punk rock cum coming-of-age story? Yes. Yes. Yes. And it is brilliant! I laughed. I very nearly cried. I wanted to force it on everyone who had ever felt like an outcast (and haven't we all?), and I even entertained the idea of building a geodesic dome. Bognanni's narrative voice crackles with authenticity, and his take on the teenage identity crisis is tinged with humor and irony but is not without sympathy and a strong understanding of his characters' humanity.
Seriously, people. Go buy a copy. Yu's novel is essentially literary fiction masquerading as meta-ish sci-fi, but you need only the most cursory familiarity with the science fiction canon to appreciate his clever references, and all you need to be able to enjoy the rest of it is a healthy appreciation of incredible, smart, heartbreaking writing. I very nearly didn't read this book because I was intimidated by the title and my acknowledged lack of sci-fi experience, and I just can't tell you how happy I am that I did.
This one isn't so much a genre mashup as it is a piece of writing that simply can't be pigeonholed. Ross's multi-layered story, inspired by video games and the artwork of M.C. Escher, loops into and over itself in a twisty-turny thriller that is the hands-down the best bit of skullfuckery I've encountered in a while. Bonus points for one of the best opening lines ever. It's been nearly six months since I read Mr. Peanut, and I haven't been able to shut up about it yet. This one also wins the award of book mentioned on most consecutive episodes of the Bookrageous podcast (meaning: all of them).
Immensely recommendable and widely appealing, Mandel's literary thriller is chock full of sentences that are equal parts beautiful, insightful, and provocative. Her exploration of identity, corruption, and compromise is unflinching, and the story is nothing short of a pageturner. Like that mall in "The Blues Brothers," this book has everything.