A delightful testimony to the enduring power of love.

THIS IS KIND OF AN EPIC LOVE STORY

Love and second chances are the themes of this engrossing young adult novel.

After being cheated on by his girlfriend, Florence, and watching his mother struggle to accept his father’s death, Nathan is not sure that he believes in love anymore. When Oliver, Nate’s former best friend, moves back to Seattle and enrolls in his high school, the stage may finally be set for Nate to heal his broken heart. In their debut young adult novel, Callender (Hurricane Child, 2018) assembles a delightful cast of teenage characters who feel so authentic that readers will be scanning their school cafeterias for them. The author has a talent for capturing the earnest-yet-awkward cadence of teenspeak, and they explore the humor and pathos of adolescent relationships in a way that demonstrates a deep respect for the teen audience. While the central love pair is nicely rendered, starting with their meet-cute, Nate’s relationships with his mother and with Flo—for whom he still holds a torch—are equally complex. His guilt over his inability to comfort his mom and the awkwardness both he and Flo feel about forging a solid friendship despite their rocky past are eminently relatable. Best of all, Nate, Flo, and Ollie’s sexualities are fluid and a nonissue within their familial and social circles. Nate is brown-skinned, Oliver is Latinx, and Florence is biracial (black and Taiwanese).

A delightful testimony to the enduring power of love. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-282022-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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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

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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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