Ideal for readers searching for queer- and female-driven contemporary fantasy

THE LOST COAST

A group of queer fledgling witches search for their friend in a small town among the redwoods of Northern California.

The Grays—four tightknit high school friends—cast a spell to draw someone to their town who can help find Imogen, their fifth group member, whose body is present but whose mind is elsewhere. They attract Danny, a Michigan native. The Grays introduce her to magic, and together, they use their personalized abilities to solve the mystery of Imogen’s disappearance. Along the way, Danny starts to feel at home with the group and nurses a crush on one member, Rush—problematic because she has history with Imogen. The Grays’ frank conversations about identity are utterly refreshing and ring true to life. “What word fits in a way that makes you happy at this very moment?” one Gray asks. Danny is queer and white; Rush is fat, queer, and white; Hawthorn is black and bisexual; June is gay and Filipina; Lelia is nonbinary, gray asexual, and white; Imogen is white and dates girls. Short chapters weave a tapestry of past and present of narration from Danny, the Grays, and others. Though arguably fitting with the narrative’s murky, otherworldly atmosphere, Imogen’s disappearance initially lacks context, and the book-spanning hunt to find her deserves more momentum. The positive, gentle depiction of Danny and Rush’s physical relationship offers much-needed representation.

Ideal for readers searching for queer- and female-driven contemporary fantasy (. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0096-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love.

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LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB

Finally, the intersectional, lesbian, historical teen novel so many readers have been waiting for.

Lily Hu has spent all her life in San Francisco’s Chinatown, keeping mostly to her Chinese American community both in and out of school. As she makes her way through her teen years in the 1950s, she starts growing apart from her childhood friends as her passion for rockets and space exploration grows—along with her curiosity about a few blocks in the city that her parents have warned her to avoid. A budding relationship develops with her first White friend, Kathleen, and together they sneak out to the Telegraph Club lesbian bar, where they begin to explore their sexuality as well as their relationship to each other. Lo’s lovely, realistic, and queer-positive tale is a slow burn, following Lily’s own gradual realization of her sexuality while she learns how to code-switch between being ostensibly heterosexual Chinatown Lily and lesbian Telegraph Bar Lily. In this meticulously researched title, Lo skillfully layers rich details, such as how Lily has to deal with microaggressions from gay and straight women alike and how all of Chinatown has to be careful of the insidious threat of McCarthyism. Actual events, such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s 1943 visit to San Francisco, form a backdrop to this story of a journey toward finding one’s authentic self.

Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love. (author’s note) (Historical romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55525-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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