A thoroughly imagined environmental nightmare with taut pacing and compelling characters that will leave readers eager for...

UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY

From the Heartland Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A chilling post-apocalyptic adventure set on an Earth devastated by poor agricultural practices.

For teenager Cael, a good day might be killing a shuck rat for dinner and sailing a land-boat above ultraengineered cornfields to scavenge parts from a wrecked motorvator. A bad day is watching the girl you love become Obligated to your archrival. Welcome to the Empyrean world, where the haves hover above ruined Earth in luxurious flotillas and the have-nots toil below in the Heartland, told whom to marry and what to grow—those “endless…everything” fields of corn that threaten to swallow towns and must be beaten back with “Queeny’s Quietdown,” an ominous herbicide. It’s all just “[l]ife in the Heartland,” resigned citizens say of violent “piss-blizzard” pollen storms, stillborn babies and the tumors that grow like strange fruit on their bodies. When Cael and his friends discover a trail of precious, prohibited vegetables growing deep in the corn, they stumble on a secret that may save them—or get them killed. Wendig offers vivid glimpses of authentic teen emotion and snappy, profanity-laced dialogue set in a grim-yet-plausible wrecked world. With last pages that offer more late-breaking revelation than resolution, this story’s dangling threads will no doubt entice readers to reach for the next book in the Heartland Trilogy.

A thoroughly imagined environmental nightmare with taut pacing and compelling characters that will leave readers eager for more . (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: July 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4778-1720-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Skyscape

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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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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