A florid rumination on identity, utterly incurious about science, disability, or what makes life worth living

SHE, MYSELF, AND I

A disabled young woman gets her brain transplanted into the body of an attractive comatose donor.

Rosa, an 18-year-old from London, has been disabled since childhood with an unnamed and vaguely defined terminal nerve disorder. When she gets the opportunity for a groundbreaking, secretive transplant surgery, her family rushes to America. Rosa knows almost nothing about her donor, Sylvia, except that she was a white 18-year-old like Rosa who’s been in a coma since an accident. As Rosa recovers in rehab and builds a secretive romance with Joe, a tattooed white boy, she ponders the nature of her soul. With no rumination about the disability she’s lived with for most of her life, her introspection lacks believability. Even while Rosa worries if Joe loves her or loves Sylvia’s body, she never questions her conviction that in her prior body she’d been nonsexual, ineligible for romance. Rosa relies on her accent and her own mannerisms as identity-building evidence without exploring what it means that she retained them post-surgery. In a shocking and unexamined scene, Rosa and a fellow patient make a friendly date for hospital movie night to see Me Before You, a 2016 romance about a paralyzed man who chooses euthanasia over living disabled—a thoroughly inappropriate rehab-hospital film.

A florid rumination on identity, utterly incurious about science, disability, or what makes life worth living . (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2570-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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

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 dark and enthralling journey.

VESPERTINE

In a land threatened by violent spirits, a girl with a haunted past unleashes an ancient entity from a holy relic and strikes a deal for the power to save her home.

Ever since the Sorrow, the dead no longer pass on peacefully. Without the intervention of the Clerisy of the Gray Lady, they roam as destructive spirits. Artemisia of Naimes, gifted with the ability to see the spirits, never intends to leave her convent, where the walls protect her from possession and (Lady forbid) social interaction. Her plans crumble when a group of possessed soldiers attack her home. Reluctantly, Artemisia unseals a legendary relic, binding herself to a revenant, an undead being with immense power. Untrained in controlling spirits and desperate to protect her home, she bargains with the revenant to help her. Amid escalating danger and an unfolding mystery, Rogerson unveils a grim and intriguing world with a rich, plot-relevant history inspired by late-medieval France. In addition to the White protagonist, the narration describes several secondary characters with brown skin; the revenant is identified as “it,” while human characters in this world adhere to a gender binary. Artemisia experiences dynamic character growth as her understandings of trauma, history, and morality shift. Although she remains socially avoidant, she learns to value friendship. A satisfying but open-ended resolution demands for the story to continue.

A dark and enthralling journey. (glossary) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7711-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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