A witty, candid take on love, friendship, belonging, and disability.

THE FIRST THING ABOUT YOU

A teen with spinal muscular atrophy navigates a new school and a new crush.

Fifteen-year-old Harris Jacobus is determined that his family’s move from California to New Jersey will be a fresh start. When he was growing up, frequent hospitalizations and wheelchair-inaccessible hangouts made it difficult to make friends. But now he vows to experience being a typical teenager, which includes finding a girlfriend, someone like the enigmatic Nory Fischer, who’s both beautiful and refreshingly chill about his disability. But how can he get to know someone who won’t reveal her favorite color, which he considers a crucial requirement for determining compatibility? Fortunately, Miranda, the hot, outgoing aide who accompanies Harris at school, is happy to play matchmaker. But soon, Harris finds himself falling for Miranda—and her unprofessional, impulsive influence—in ways that could backfire spectacularly. Readers will root for Harris even while wincing at his reckless decisions; Hayden, who has SMA himself, vividly captures Harris’ desire to belong and the pressure to transcend disability stereotypes. Melding wry wit, awkwardness, and introspection, Harris’ frank narration keeps the pages turning as he grapples with the uncomfortable, conflicting feelings of his romantic dilemma. The ending is a delightful pop of realism. Harris’ family is wonderfully supportive though occasionally realistically strained. Details of life with SMA, such as breathing treatments and feeding routines, are informative. Most characters default to White; Nory is Mexican American.

A witty, candid take on love, friendship, belonging, and disability. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2311-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 25

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 18

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more