Like the works of Ursula K. LeGuin, inside this lyrically written, suspenseful tale is a deeply humane thematic core.

YOUR ONE & ONLY

Humans, now extinct, used their DNA to create Vispera’s nine clone models, and subsequent generations eliminated human diseases and defects; the choice to create Jack, 17, genetically human, gray-eyed, with asthma, is a troubling and intriguing mystery to Althea-310.

Gestated in tanks and born 10 years apart, each 10-member generation of the nine models appears identical. (After centuries of genetic manipulation, racial characteristics vary among models, but all have brown eyes.) Rarely, minor differences affect individual appearance, like the tiny scar on her wrist that Althea-310 covers. She wonders how Jack, barred from their games and ceremonies, can bear life without the constant presence and comfort of nine identical siblings. She intervenes when the Carsons bully him, and she provokes widespread ire when she breaks with her sisters to choose a Hassan instead of a Carson at the Pairing Ceremony. Though Jack’s poetry and music disturb her, she resists her sisters’ attempts to comfort her with their touch. When he’s blamed for acts of vandalism that threaten Vispera, she risks everything to defend him. Uncovering secrets of Vispera’s past, they discover Jack may be the key to its future. Complex issues play out in fast-paced action without oversimplification. Conformity’s benefits are real. But even if giving rein to unfettered individuality can cause harm, singularity just might be a precondition to empathy.

Like the works of Ursula K. LeGuin, inside this lyrically written, suspenseful tale is a deeply humane thematic core. (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-99147-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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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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