Still absorbing, if not as polished as its predecessor.


From the Gated series , Vol. 2

This sequel to the excellent Gated (2013) follows former cult member Lyla as she struggles to adjust to the outside world while fighting off the calls of her family to rejoin their doomsday sect led by charismatic and dictatorial Pioneer.

In the first book, Lyla struggled to escape the Community; now, she deals with her emotions: toward her parents, who remain enthusiastically in the cult, toward former Intended Will, and toward Cody, the sheriff’s son with whom she is starting a possible romance and with whose family she now lives. Additionally, some residents of the small town make it clear they want Lyla out. The town government decides to send all the cult children to the same high school, lumping Lyla in with them, thus causing Lyla even more grief as she attempts to distance herself from them. Pioneer, operating from jail rather like Charles Manson, manages to maintain ultimate control over the Community, with flunky Mr. Brown leading increasingly violent attempts to intimidate Lyla. Parker resorts to a couple of rather unrealistic contrivances to set up the suspense in this book: It’s hard to believe that officials would throw Lyla together with her former cult members and send the cult children back to their still-obsessed families. Nevertheless, Lyla’s psychological turmoil comes across effectively, and the suspense builds to an extremely exciting climax.

Still absorbing, if not as polished as its predecessor. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-449-81602-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

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


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.


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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