Short, sweet, and satisfying.

HELLO NOW

A lonely London teen is swept up in a logic-defying romance.

When Jude’s mother once again relocates the two of them—this time to a remote, “far-as-the-eye-could-see whites-only seaside town”—Jude is dejected and pessimistic. That is, until Novo appears. The boy possesses inexplicable and undeniable powers, which include everything from benignly influencing the actions of people and animals to stretching out a single moment of time. His abilities are so intrinsic that Jude immediately accepts them (“I knew straightaway that something impossible was happening”). Novo is also cosmically tied to Jude, and the two begin a blissful, whirlwind romance heavily influenced by Novo’s abilities. Though much of the story is devoid of conflict, by the end Jude faces a heartbreaking choice. Valentine (Fire Color One, 2017, etc.) dives deep even while playing in to the oft-trod wish fulfillment of a protagonist finding true love with a supernatural boy. The author deftly handles themes of living in the moment, embracing change, and moving forward after loss. While the conclusions drawn don’t necessarily break new ground, readers will nevertheless walk away with a lot to think about. Jude remains ungendered throughout the story, leaving the door open to various interpretations while not actively committing to a genderqueer protagonist. The cast is presumably white.

Short, sweet, and satisfying. (Magical realism. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-399-54695-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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 slow-burn romance but a burnout of a plot.

WILD IS THE WITCH

A young witch unintentionally releases a fatal curse in this frenemies-to-lovers romance.

The Foggy Mountain Wildlife Refuge on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is the perfect place for Iris Gray and her mother, who, as witches, have a special affinity for helping animals but keep their magic secret. College intern Pike Alder, who assists at the sanctuary, has an incredible talent for getting under Iris’ skin and freely expresses his intense dislike and mistrust of witches. When she reaches her boiling point with his arrogance, Iris comes up with a spell to work through her frustration. Unfortunately, her magic goes awry, and the curse that should have burned away without impact instead goes into an injured owl that takes flight, leaving the sanctuary behind. With Pike accompanying her for safety at her mother’s insistence, Iris sets out into the forest to find the owl; if it dies before Iris can reverse the spell, the curse could burn Pike alive. The Pacific Northwest rainforest setting is palpable as the two trek through the backcountry in search of the owl, and their banter moves the story forward as romantic feelings start to build. Unfortunately, Iris’ repetitive internal dialogue, always reminding readers of the stakes, lessens any tension and makes subsequent scenes feel inevitable. Characters are cued as White.

A slow-burn romance but a burnout of a plot. (Fantasy romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72822-945-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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