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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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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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