How could any reader of any age resist Rebecca Makkai's charming The Borrower
(Viking), a novel that tracks the relationship between a 20-something librarian and a 10-year-old boy with punitive parents. Part caper (the two take off on a road trip that has moments of danger but never turns dark), part coming-of-age (and not just for the kid!) story, it manages, with good humor and wry self-knowledge, to read our minds. "I do still believe that books can save you," the librarian concludes. "I believed that [he] would get his books, as surely as any addict will get his drug.... He'd sell his own guinea pig for book money.... He'd hollow out his mattress and fill it with paperbacks." Sound familiar? To us, too.
— Sara Nelson