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I’ve spent a good chunk of the fall in a thrills and chills mood, reading all kinds of fabulous mysteries, thrillers, and horror. Moods are fleeting, though, and with winter approaching, I decided what I really needed was a heist novel. I wanted a lovable gang of misfits taking on the world kind of story. Want is just the book to scratch that itch.

The publisher’s blurb focuses on Jason and makes the book sound like his story, but really it’s about a whole group of teens and how they use their varied talents to bring down an evil corporation. I loved each of the characters on their own, but the real magic is in the chemistry when they’re together. It sounds cheesy, but they care about each other. They’re always supportive, even when they don’t agree or when things go wrong.

Another bonus: the setting—a dystopian, polluted version of Taipei where the rich can afford fancy suits that shield them from their poisoned environs, while the poor suffer and die in growing numbers. Jason and his friends are working to infiltrate the company that makes the suits, but when Jason gets involved with the daughter of the CEO, he may have to decide between his mission and his feelings. *cue mournful violins*

Overall, a fun, fast read, and ideal for audio, as it’s surprisingly easy to follow.

Find it at your library!

Nina Revoyr is a writer I really enjoy reading, and I wish her works were better known. It can be tough to find books that feature queer characters that go beyond coming out stories. Coming out stories certainly have their place, but it’s also important to me to read books about queer people living their lives and getting into interesting situations and, you know, being the people they are. In Southland, Revoyr has created a mystery/historical hybrid novel which explores complicated race relations in LA through the years, from World War II to the 2000s.

Jackie Ishida decides to dig into her grandfather’s past when a mysterious will discovered after his death bequeaths the corner store he used to own to a man Jackie has never heard of before. The store was sold after the Watts riots in the 1960s, but Jackie still wants to find out why Frank would have left it to a virtual stranger. Through connections she makes at the funeral, she meets James Lanier, the cousin of the man named in the will. Lanier has some unanswered questions of his own about what happened during the riots and what his cousin’s connection was to Jackie’s grandfather, and he agrees to help her find out the truth.

One thing I love about this book is how it’s really about the relationships—there’s a lot of them, and they’re all rich and complex and realistic. The mystery is solid and kept me turning pages, but what I cared about most was the people. The most powerful reveals had to do with the connections between them, as opposed to the nitty-gritty details of the crime Jackie and Lanier uncover. Recommended for fans of historical fiction and mysteries with substance—these characters and what they went through will stick with you.