Haunting, unusual, and real.

THE QUEEN OF JUNK ISLAND

After experiencing sexual trauma, Dell is lost.

Socially ungraceful and an outsider at school, she’s spending the summer at the island cottage where her mother, Anne, grew up, with Anne’s new boyfriend, Joe, and his daughter, Ivy. Her days are filled with picking up trash dumped by an unruly tenant and little else. Anne is overprotective and seems to like prickly Ivy more than her own daughter; Ivy has something against Dell from the outset. On top of that, Dell is being haunted by her maternal Aunt Julie, who was disavowed by the family and died the year before Dell was born. Jones never shies away from brutally honest discussions of sexual topics that were even more taboo in the 2000s when the book is set, capturing in particular the toxicity of biphobia as Dell is confused by her intense desire, earlier for boys and now, for Ivy. Ivy’s relationship with Dell shifts from possible stepsisters to cautious almost-friends to lovers; at its core it is about two difficult girls who understand each other’s strangeness better than anyone else. The Ontario setting isn’t claustrophobic, rather allowing the characters to exist within their own universe. As Dell excavates family secrets, it’s clear this is also a story about intergenerational love; understanding ghosts, both internal and external; and becoming a person who will allow others to love them. Dell and her family are White; Joe is unspecified First Nations, and Ivy’s mother is White.

Haunting, unusual, and real. (author's note) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-77321-635-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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

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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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