Not shying away from the pressures inherent in today’s youth-driven underground music culture, this book stands as a...

WHEN THE BEAT DROPS

Self-professed teenage jazz nerd Mira Alden spins into the edgy electronic dance music scene, full of bright lights, booming speakers, dancing crowds…and risky decisions.

When Mira first experiences EDM at a warehouse party in Brooklyn with her older sister, Britt, she is deeply moved; not expecting to like electronic music, she is surprised by her intense, visceral response. But the morals in this warehouse don’t match her family’s fighting-for-middle-class upbringing in suburban Connecticut. Mira has always believed star soccer player Britt to be the favorite within their biracial (white mom, black dad), athletic family. In the shadows, Mira has followed her grandfather’s jazz legacy, aspiring with her best friends to attend an esteemed jazz conservatory in Harlem. When money troubles prevent Mira from attending summer music camp, she embraces the slippery world of EDM, drawing close to her new DJ friend Shay, who is Puerto Rican, and succumbing to the sly charms of the promoter, Derek, who is white. Easy access to drugs in this party scene leads to tragic circumstances. Will Mira be able to maintain her jazz dreams and keep up with this fast-paced culture? It’s sure to be a long summer dance.

Not shying away from the pressures inherent in today’s youth-driven underground music culture, this book stands as a testament to how music within community allows one to discover purpose and possibility against a backdrop of tragedy and tribulation. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-3333-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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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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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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