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Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 1: Rise of the Batmen by James Tynion IV and Eddy Barrows (Artist), et. al. Black Hammer, Volume 5: Reborn, Part One by Jeff Lemire, Caitlin Yarsky (Illustrator) et. al
Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron
The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken by Doreen Cronin and Kevin Cornell (Illustrations)
Claws for Suspicion by Deborah Blake and Laura Jennings (Narrator)
Crimes and Covers by Amanda Flower
Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire and Emily Bauer (Narrator)
11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass
Famous Mistakes by Carolyn Keene
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
Green Arrow: Stranded by Brendan Deneen and Caleb Hosalla (Illustrations)
I'll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca and Sara Palacios (Illustrator)
Moriarty the Patriot, Volume 5 by Ryōsuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi (Illustrations)
My Dress-Up Darling, Volume 1 by Shinichi Fukuda
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie
The Promised Neverland Volume 1 by Kaiu Shirai, Posuka Demizu (Illustrator), and Luise Steggewentz (Translator)
Put Out to Pasture by Amanda Flower and Rachel Dulude (Narrator)
Smells Like Treasure by Suzanne Selfors
Spy x Family, Volume 1 by Tatsuya Endo and Casey Loe (Translator)
This Old Homicide by Kate Carlisle
Vanilla Beaned by Jenn McKinlay and Susan Boyce (narrator)
The View from the Very Best House in Town by Meera Trehan
The Way From Here by Jane Cockram
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero by E. Lockhart and Manuel Preitano (Illustrator)

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The View from the Very Best House in Town: 05/15/22

The View from the Very Best House in Town

The View from the Very Best House in Town by Meera Trehan is a tale of two friends separated by circumstances and a mansion wanting to be a home. It's told in three alternating points of view: Sam's, Asha's, and Donnybrook's.

Asha and Sam have been friends for most of their lives. Both are autistic and compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses. But now Sam will be going to the elite private school, leaving Asha behind at the public school. Sam loves space and planetariums. Asha loves architecture, especially the mansion behind her home — Donnybrook.

Were it just Asha and Sam's points of view, this novel would have been a predictable but heartfelt exploration of friendship, bullying, and being autistic. But there's a third, very unusual POV: Donnybrook's.

Donnybrook is the mega-mansion, aptly described by Asha's older brother as a frankenmansion. It was designed by the Donaldson's and primarily on the whims of Mrs. Donaldson. It has a turret room with a window in the roof, a dubious spiral staircase, windows of every shape and size, and columns from various eras. It also, at least at the start of book, has an ego as massive as its floor plan.

But over the course of the Sam's year at the private school we see cracks appear in the Donaldson's family life. We see why their daughter is the bully she is. We learn why Asha and now Sam aren't allowed at the home. We also see a gradual but steady humbling of Donnybrook.

This novel also sits on the Road Narrative Spectrum. As the three narrators all lack agency to one degree or another, they are marginalized travelers (66). Their destination is home (66). For Asha and Sam, it's Donnybrook and for Donnybrook, it's the transformation into a home. Their route is the labyrinth (99) as represented by the broken spiral staircase.

Four stars

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