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As Far as You'll Take Me by Phil Stamper
Belly Up by Eva Darrows
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Moriarty the Patriot, Volume 2 by Ryōsuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi
Negative Image by Vicki Delany
Nothing O'Clock by Neil Gaiman
Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith
Oddity by Eli Brown and Karin Rytter (illustrator)
The Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey
Paladin's Strength by T. Kingfisher
Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron
The Raconteur's Commonplace Book by Kate Milford

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
Restaurant to Another World Volume 3 by Junpei Inuzuka and Katsumi Enami (Illustrations)
Séance Tea Party by Reimena Yee
Stray Bullets by Robert Rotenberg
These Unlucky Stars by Gillian McDunn
Tin by Candace Robinson and Amber R. Duell
Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story by Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Wicked Weaves by Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene
The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen

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Oddity: 03/20/20

Oddity

Oddity by Eli Brown and Karin Rytter (illustrator) is a middle grade alternate history fantasy set in lands inspired by the Louisiana Purchase but supposes a time when the United States didn't expand beyond the initial states and in fact lost two. The fantasy elements involve oddities that in their number and variety bring to mind Warehouse 13 (which given the timeline would be Warehouse 12) combined with the wild west as imagined by Briscoe County Jr..

Clover's mother collected oddities but that hobby contributed to her death. Clover wants to honor her mother by collecting them too. She found an icy cold Ice Hook while helping her physician father. That decision results in him dead and her on the run as an orphan.

Creating an alternate timeline along with populating it with apparently magical items is an ambitious undertaking. To sell it, the characters need to feel natural — like they belong in their world. Clover understandably spends much of her time after her father's death thinking about him. That leaves her traveling companions, a snake oil saleswoman and a talking rooster who unfortunately brings to mind Chicken Run, to fill in the world of the oddities. They don't beyond one quick tale of a wine goblet making a marsh after spilling and getting lost in the process.

While Brown keeps the white societies in his novel (France and the United States), he tries to skirt the problem of Native American representation by creating two fictional peoples. The Black characters in his book don't fare better either. For instance, on arriving in a city she comments on how "tidy" a poor Black girl and goes on to compare her hair to licorice.

Two stars

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