MAATA’S JOURNAL

Maata, a young Inuit girl tells a powerfully moving tale set in diary form. She begins by recounting her wait for the ship that will come through the breaking spring ice to rescue Morgan, the last of the four white explorers on the island of Tumak in the Arctic in 1924. Her tale spins back to how her people, accustomed to living off the land, were rounded up by the Canadian government in Ottawa, and kept from their traditional nomadic life. Maata’s mother, seeing their future in the ways of the Qallunaat—the whites—encourages her daughter to learn English first from an elder and then from the schoolmaster. Maata is drunk on words, loves to use them to hold and capture what she thinks and how she feels. Her journal vividly reflects what she learns from her family and what she learns from the boarding school in Quebec, where she’s sent when her parents die in an accident caused by a well-meaning cleric. It also reflects how carefully she reads the ice and vegetation and wildlife around her. The story of the four explorers, one of whom dies in the fire that grievously injures Morgan, two of whom choose to try to go over the ice in winter and are lost, illuminates the tangled effects of culture, liquor, and class on Inuit/Qallunaat relations. Maata’s voice is redolent with a precise, natural lyricism. The only false note is the complete lack of any sexual tension between her late adolescent self and the men she serves as guide and companion. Teen readers, however, will eagerly devour her story, with its dramatic shifts in locale and its depiction of a very alien culture and time. (bibliography, author’s note) (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-83463-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2002

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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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