Ideal for fans of lush, folktale-inspired fantasy.


Thirteen unsettling stories put a dark feminist spin on traditional fairy tales.

What happened after the woodcutter rescued Red Riding Hood from the wolf? Why did the witch build a gingerbread house in the woods? What if Cinderella or the Little Mermaid made different choices? In spare, delicate, fragmented prose, Irish author Sullivan (Perfectly Preventable Deaths, 2019, etc.) looks before, after, and behind some of the best-known European tales and finds both darkness and female empowerment. Few of these brief stories are straight retellings; most are allusive present-tense ruminations (many in the first or second person) with only tenuous connections to the original; all are deceptively quiet and deeply introspective. Men fare badly, lurking mostly offstage as abusive monsters to outwit or escape or shallow weaklings to ignore or manipulate. Agency resides in the relationships between women, although these are likely to be fraught or competitive; the rare instances of love usually lead to tragedy. The women vary widely: princess and peasant, witch and miller’s daughter, beautiful and plain, fat and thin, white and brown, queer, dwarf, and neurodivergent. All are acutely aware of their physical appetites and alert to the cruelties and seductions of power. The handsome presentation is enhanced by the full-page black-and-white illustrations that accompany each tale, elegant and evocative in an art nouveau style.

Ideal for fans of lush, folktale-inspired fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-910411-92-6

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Little Island/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

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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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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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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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